Locating a Transnational Film between Korean Cinema and American Cinema: A Case Study of Snowpiercer (2014)


This article argues that Joon-ho Bong’s Snowpiercer (2013) is a transnational film. It identifies how categorizing it as either Korean cinema or American cinema falls short of accounting for its unprecedented mode of production, distribution, and storytelling. This is a case study that compensates for the existing literature on the movie that often omits its significance in Korean cinema, neglects the ongoing discourse on transnational cinema, and dismisses the filmic text as having nothing to do with the idea of the nation. This study situates Snowpiercer in the larger context of Korean cinema by identifying the heritage it belongs to, shows that the filmic text embodies the complex notion of nation in today’s world, and argues that cultural signs in the film indicate a transnational imaginary. The results contribute to identifying how national cinema is changing in relation to increasing transnational film productions and theorizing what the transnational may be for a useful framework.