How to Translate a Genre (with Michelle Cho)

In this week’s episode, guest Michelle Cho discusses her article “Genre, Translation, and Transnational Cinema” which analyzes Kim Jee-woon’s Korean western film The Good, the Bad, the Weird as emblematic of both the transnational adaptation of popular genres and the international rise of South Korean cinema in the early 21st century. Cho proposes a theory of genre translation that does not require audiences to know all textual references in a film and that accounts for the embodied pleasures and therapeutic sensations of globally popular genres, such as westerns.

“The appeal of genre films for a lot of viewers is that familiarity offers the space and opportunity to re-experience sensations and feelings that are pleasurable or, you could even say, therapeutic. Genre films give audiences an opportunity to go through a range of very intense sensations and emotions in a safe container or a safe space.”

Episode Transcript (opens as PDF)

Show Notes

03:54 The Good, the Bad, the Weird by Kim Jee-woon

09:20 about the myth surrounding the Lumières’ film Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat

11:17 a timeline of the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98

16:15 New York Times profile on Bong Joon-ho, from his early films to winning the Oscar for Parasite

18:40 more on the Manchurian western genre

35:30 A brief history of different colonizations of Manchuria

41:30 K-pop stans political interventions during summer 2020

43:05 Michelle Cho’s chapter on K-pop video culture

About the Guest

Michelle Cho is Assistant Professor of East Asian Popular Cultures and Graduate Faculty in Cinema Studies at the University of Toronto. She has published on Asian cinemas and Korean wave television, video, and pop music in such venues as Cinema Journal, the International Journal of CommunicationThe Korean Popular Culture Reader, and Asian Video Cultures. Her first monograph is about 21st century South Korean genre cinemas and she’s currently at work on a project focused on gender, media, and fandom in Korean-wave media.

Indigenous Cinema in North America (with Karrmen Crey)

In this week’s episode, guest Karrmen Crey discusses her article “Screen Text and Institutional Context: Indigenous Film Production and Academic Research Institutions” which analyzes post-secondary institutions and the intellectual traditions that shape how Indigenous filmmakers engage the politics and ethics of representation. By comparing two documentaries by Indigenous women, Navajo Talking Picture (Arlene Bowman 1986) and Cry Rock (Banchi Hanuse 2010), Crey argues that we must consider how Indigenous artists contend with sources of funding and formal tropes enmeshed in Western traditions when attempting to tell Indigenous stories in visual media.

“…chances are you might dismiss it for being what seems like uncomfortable, and that to me was the point. Because this is a very complicated text, if we look at the institutional context as a part of the production, we can see exactly what the filmmaker is trying to intervene in and transform.”

Episode Transcript (opens as PDF)

Show Notes

01:20 Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance by Alanis Obomsawin

07:30 Navajo Talking Picture by Arlene Bowman

09:00 Cry Rock by Banchi Hanuse

18:20 the First Nations program at the University of British Columbia

19:40 NFB profile on Cree/Métis filmmaker Loretta Todd

23:00 oral traditions as a particular mode of learning and understanding

37:00 Michelle Stewart explains “native nationalism” in her dissertation

40:30 News report about 72% of films at the 2017 imagineNATIVE festival made by Indigenous female directors

About the Guest

Karrmen Crey (Stó:lō) is a member of Cheam First Nation, and is Assistant Professor of Aboriginal Communication and Media Studies in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University. Her research examines the rise of Indigenous media in Canada since the early 1990s, and the institutions of media culture undergirding this phenomenon. 

Welcome to the Global Media Cultures podcast!

In this short episode, I recount the origins of the series and explain what I hope listeners take away from these conversations over the next three months.

This is a public humanities project in that it aims to connect scholars of global media studies, particularly those early in their careers, to an audience beyond the academy. The podcast series is intended as a teaching resource for those in higher education and as an introduction to these topics for anyone interested in how media shapes our understanding of the world.

Episode Transcript (opens as PDF)

Show Notes

00:50 The article on luxury movie theaters in India: “A Global Cinematic Experience: Cinépolis, Film Exhibition, and Luxury Branding”

00:53 The article on digital technologies used at airports: “The Datalogical Drug Mule”

00:57 The article on Netflix original series in Mexico: Luis Miguel: La serie, Class-Based Collective Memory, and Streaming Television in Mexico”