chapter  11
Fragments of Labor: Neoliberal Attitudes and Architectures in Contemporary South Korean Cinema: Keith B. Wagner
Pages 22

Known to South Koreans and international audiences as a licentious fi lmmaker whose narratives pivot around sadistic, perverse, and slickly choreographed visceral violence, Park Chan-wook’s sensational impulses and aesthetic fl air cleverly obfuscate his other concern in South Korean society: motifs of material and immaterial labor. Iconographic elements of the working class and “salarymen” litter Park’s mise-en-scène, from the proletariat fi gure, rugged and broken by extreme social circumstances, to the white-collar worker, laid off and similarly down on his luck. Their work environments, as crafted on screen, vary visually from cramped and bustling factory fl oors to corporate tower blocks, cosmopolitan high-rises, and lifeless offi ce cubicles.