"The Critical Social Turn of Queer Korean Cinema: Hospitality and the Temporal Economy of Queer Kinship in The Bacchus Lady (2016)"

Kim, Ungsan. "The Critical Social Turn of Queer Korean Cinema: Hospitality and the Temporal Economy of Queer Kinship in The Bacchus Lady (2016)." Korea Journal 58.2 (2018): 88-112.

Recent queer Korean cinema radically questions the efficacy of normative family structures and envisions a more radical type of kinship that is not reducible to the marriage-based family. Refusing simply to celebrate public recognition and marriage equality, films showing this new trend are more concerned with intimate relations that bind various social others together. This shift in film production expands the concept of queer Korean cinema to encompass its evolution as a mode of critique regarding both hetero- and homonormative assimilation to mainstream society. This article specifically focuses on E J-yong’s Jugyeojuneun yeoja (The Bacchus Lady, 2016), and its engagement with theories of queer kinship and temporality. By portraying the quandaries of an aging prostitute involved in a series of assisted suicides and in caregiving of a national “other,” the film troubles life-producing kinship structure that demands marriage, bi-parental rearing, and heteronormative relations. By analyzing the formation of alternative kinship and its relation to queer temporality in the film, this article argues that the issue of life and death no longer functions as a narrative trope of developmental logic, one that presupposes normative life cycle. Rather, the film foregrounds it as a critical tool to problematize normative kinship structure that buttress the Korean nation-state.

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