The camera in pain: memories of the Cold War in East Asian independent documentaries
ABSTRACTThe article begins with a discussion of the changing topography of cultural production in East Asia over the last twenty-five years, especially as it concerns the genre of independent documentary film, and then turn to three independent documentaries filmed in Japan and North Korea, South Korea and Japan, and China, respectively: Yang Yong-hi’s Dear Pyongyang (2005), Mun Jeong-hyun’s Grandmother’s Flower (2007), and Wang Bing’s He Fengming: A Chinese Memoir (2006). Erased from the official historical record and excluded from public commemoration, the alternate history of pain traced by these documentaries resubmits the Cold War to examination from deep inside its most private wounds. In the process, the filmmakers encounter not only the memories of the earlier generation that lived through the most violent episodes of the Cold War, but also come to question their own history and identity within the process of Cold War’s decomposition.
Keywords: East Asian independent documentary, Cold War memories, post-Cold War, decomposition of Cold War, social memory
Cheon Jin studied as an undergraduate and graduate at Yonsei University. She earned her PhD in 2009 with a dissertation on The boundary of Writing(wen): Discourse on Knowledge and Ethic in China in the early 20th century. She is currently interested in analyzing representation attitude of East Asia in the 20th century through magazine media in East Asia and the change in modern knowledge places, historical reading of visual media culture in East Asia in the 20th century.