When four contes were serialized under the title of “Yŏnghwa esŏ odǔn kkongt’ǔ” (contes adapted from films; hereafter Cinema Conte) in the Chosŏn ilbo (Chosŏn daily) in 1937, they provided an important assessment of imperial Japan’s success with its cinema control polices in colonial Korea. The 1934 Regulation Ordinance for Motion Pictures stipulated that Japan begin reducing the number of Western film screenings in the colony to protect both the growing Japanese and colonial cinema. The policy’s full effect was expected to materialize by 1937. Cinema Conte’s adaptation process of four Western films into contes reflects this context of Western films’ reception in colonial Korea in 1937. The four authors of Cinema Conte highlight Japan’s institutional restrictions on Western films and the colonial Koreans resultant sense of deprivation by transforming Western movie satires into contes, a genre considered marginal at the time, while directing their satire against the contemporary, politically induced distortion of colonial Korean’s cultural experience of Western films. In this sense, Cinema Conte represents a political aesthetic, or aesthetic politics, which illustrates the unique emotional toll the geopolitical status as a colony had on Koreans. At the same time it performed the cultural work of sublimating Koreans’ frustrated passion into potent pathos.

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