Tourist Distractions: Traveling and Feeling in Transnational Hallyu Cinema
Transient Monuments: Commemorating and Memorializing in Taegukgi Korean War Film Tourism
This chapter is a visual excavation of Kang Je-gyu’s film about the Korean War, Taegukgi (2004), in relation to the film sets, theme parks, and exhibitions that drew large audiences in the wake of the film’s box-office success. Looking at material traces of the film’s depiction of the Korean War in their moments of dispersion, decay, and deterioration, this chapter examines a contemporary representation of the defining event of the Korean twentieth century along with its commercial brand of historicism. These film sites function as what are referred to as transient monuments, which stand in direct contrast to more formal sites of commemoration. The chapter argues that as such, they facilitate an emotional connection to the past for a generation that does not remember the Korean War, but in so doing, risk confusing memory with affect, making history increasingly difficult to differentiate from consumerist practices.