• Offered by School of Culture History and Language
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Asian Studies
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

Korean films have rapidly gained popularity in Asia and beyond since the 1990s. This course uses films as a vehicle for understanding  the intersection of the local and the global. By exploring universal themes, like ‘tradition,’ ‘trauma,’ and ‘revenge,’ students will come to appreciate shifts in Korean culture and history. In particular, we will investigate how the locally embodied cultural practices meshed with the fast changing socioeconomic and cultural circumstances in Korea as well as the unprecedented pace of globalization in order to understand Korea within the broader regional and global context.

The course places special focus on the films of five prominent South Korean directors. Each director is known for his or her unique style and mode of representation of a particular theme. Throughout the semester, we will touch on a variety of topics, including traditional aesthetics, the division of the Korean nation, the turbulent contemporary political environment, the rise of consumerism, violence, and the reinvention of Korean tradition and national identity in a rapidly globalizing world. We will also give special attention to the films’ treatment of characters on the margins of society. By focusing on individuals' agency in shaping their lives and environments, we will examine the tensions between the prevailing power structure and the ingenious capacity of ordinary people to cope with the difficulties in everyday life.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Students will acquire systematic general knowledge of visual representations of Korean history, culture and society; some of the major issues and agendas that have shaped modern Korea especially since 1945; the current cultural dynamics that closely intersect with the global economic, political and cultural community and the overall development of the Korean film industry from its origin to the present. They will also develop skills and gain experience in gathering, assessing and organizing information; viewing cinema critically and reading texts closely; employing interdisciplinary approaches to various social and cultural phenomena; generating and writing a coherent analytical argument; and communicating their findings orally.

Indicative Assessment

Attendance: 10% of total grade

Class Oral Presentation (10 to 15 minutes): 10% of total grade

Class Discussion (in class and online): 10% or total grade

Mid-term paper (up to 2,000 words): 30% of total grade

Final-term paper (up to 3,000 words): 40% of total grade

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Students are required to attend a viewing session (two and a half hours) and a lecture/discussion session (two hours) per week. In addition, they are expected to spend six to ten hours in preparing for weekly course sessions and doing research for their writing assignments.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have successfully completed 36 units of university courses.

Prescribed Texts

*Required Books

1. Timothy Corrigan, A Short Guide to Writing about Film (New York: Pearson, 2007)      

2. Chi-Yun Shin and Julian Stringer, eds., New Korean Cinema (New York University Press, 2005)        

3. David James and Kyung Hyun Kim, eds., Im Kwon-Taek: The Making of a Korean National Cinema (Detroit: Wayne State University, 2002)

 *Supplemental articles and book chapters will be available online.




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2016 $2718
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2016 $3876
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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