This article examines the commercially successful multicultural film Punch (Wan-dŭk i, Yi Han, 2011) as an example of new “enlightenment” (kaemong) cinema, one that—like its precedents in the South Korean Golden Age cinema of the 1950s and 1960s—supports the official government policy. While classic enlightenment films made during the Cold War era endorsed state-sanctioned narratives of anticommunism, modernization, and development, Punch toes the line of the South Korean government’s millennial project of multiculturalism (tamunhwa). Despite its intent to create a hopeful, affirmative message of tolerance and inclusion, Punch ironically silences the dissenting voice of a migrant bride character (played by Jasmine Lee, a Philippine-born TV personality-turned-representative in the National Assembly) who remains marginalized and peripheral in the masculine narrative wherein male bonding and mentoring reign supreme.

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