Political moods: Film melodrama and the cold war in the two Koreas

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Melodrama films dominated the North and South Korean industries in the period between liberation from Japanese colonial rule in 1945 and the hardening of dictatorship in the 1970s. The films of each industry are often read as direct reflections of Cold War and Korean War political ideologies and national historical experiences, and therefore as aesthetically and politically opposed to each other. However, Political Moods develops a comparative analysis across the Cold War divide, analyzing how films in both North and South Korea convey political and moral ideas through the sentimentality of the melodramatic mode. Travis Workman reveals that the melancholic moods of film melodrama express the somatic and social conflicts between political ideologies and excesses of affect, meaning, and historical references. These moods dramatize the tension between the language of Cold War politics and the negative affects that connect cinema to what it cannot fully represent. The result is a new way of historicizing the cinema of the two Koreas in relation to colonialism, postcolonialism, war, and nation building.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherUniversity of California Press
Number of pages259
ISBN (Electronic)9780520395701
ISBN (Print)9780520395695
StatePublished - Oct 24 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by Travis Workman. All rights reserved.


Dive into the research topics of 'Political moods: Film melodrama and the cold war in the two Koreas'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this