Inroads for cultural traffic: breeding Korea’s cinematiger
The Golden Age of Hallyuwood – the fusion of Hallyu and Hollywood – facilitated and was facilitated by new spaces for creative and cultural expression. Domestic market share of local films, lucrative pre-sales, a robust screen quota and fresh genre-bending narratives and styles reached a peak of acclaim at home and abroad in 2005. This period of success was notably inspired internally after the establishment of a civilian government in 1993 and the subsequent elimination of censorship in 1996. However, external pressures involved in the (re)opening of Korea to Hollywood in the mid-1980s also had an impact on the rise of Korean cinema by influencing the liberalization of the local market. In the light of international trade relations and reactions from the Korean movie scene, this chapter addresses some of the complexities and challenges that arise when new inroads are paved for transnational cultural flows. While Hollywood fixed its gaze on Korea as a ‘gold mine’, the national film industry, or ‘CinemaTiger’, transformed itself from the inside out, creating an impact beyond both the domestic arena and the conspicuous reception of Korean popular culture across the Asia-Pacific region.