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  • P-ISSN0023-3900
  • E-ISSN2733-9343

From “Vengeance” to “Forgiveness”: The Spectatorial Ek-stasis and Hitchcockian Cinematic Language in Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy

Korea Journal, (P)0023-3900; (E)2733-9343
2018, v.58 no.4, pp.60-86
https://doi.org/10.25024/kj.2018.58.4.60

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Abstract

This paper considers the visual shock Park Chan-wook utilizes in Oldboy that provokes spectatorial revulsion, a reaction to the excessively brutal logic of retaliation, in relation to Hitchcock’s suspense to explore how their films deal with ethical issues in terms of film spectatorship. Particularly, by examining how the excessive brutality of Oldboy and the film viewer’s disgust that follows, can lead to the ethical themes of “forgiveness” and “liberation,” this paper resurfaces the universal ethics about “how to be with the other ethically” in a global and transnational context. If Park’s Oldboy confronts our safe and familiar voyeuristic viewing positions, it is because his film uses the eye-toeye encounter with the spectator as the filmic element to awaken the spectator’s senseability. In connecting ethics to film, this is precisely a Hitchcockian cinema technique that includes visual assault on the spectator in order to link “ethically looking” toward the other with “ethically looking” in the cinema. Considering Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy in connection with Alfred Hitchcock’s cinematic language, and in doing so, investigating how the two film directors permit the film viewer’s ethical awakening via visual shock, this paper sheds light on the spectatorial ethics itself.

keywords
Park Chan-wook Oldboy Hitchcock an eye for an eye spectatorial ekstasis forgiveness Korean movie

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