I N T R O D U C T I O N
Distracted Attractions
There is a moment in Park Chan- wook’s Joint Security Area (Kongtong kyŏngpi
kuyŏk, 2000) when the routine duties of choreographed conflict are disrupted.
Soldiers stand guard at the heavily guarded Panmunjŏm, a cluster of buildings
that form the demilitarized zone
(dmz)
between North and South Korea. A
group of foreigners on a guided tour of the southern side are surveying the
Military Demarcation Line that runs through the middle of the
dmz,
separat-
ing the two sides, when a sudden gust of wind blows a baseball cap of one
of the tourist’s heads, and over the 38th parallel into North Korea. A North
Korean soldier picks the red cap up and stretches his hand out to return it,
while the American military tour guide reaches over the demarcation, takes
the cap, and thanks the soldier. The film’s perspective switches at this moment,
from a close-up shot taken from the point of view of the cap’s owner to an
aerial view hovering directly above the demarcation line (see fig. I.1). Just as
the U.S. military guide retreats, leaving the frame, a tourist abruptly rushes up
to the line, taking photographs, which are prohibited. We see a South Korean
I.1
A tourist gazes through his camera across the border
between North and South Korea. Joint Security Area.
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