• Contemporary Cinema Research Institute
no.1_03_How a Person Becomes a Boar: The Criminalization of Poverty Jeon Kyu–hwan’s Two Towns
  • Writer : Admin
  • Date : 2018-10-17 15:21
How a Person Becomes a Boar:
The Criminalization of Poverty in
Jeon Kyu–hwan’s Two Towns

Eun Ah Cho
University of California, Irvine

This paper focuses on the aesthetics of Jeon Kyu-hwan’s Animal Town (2009) and
Dance Town (2010) and pursues an investigation of the three questions the films
invoke in their audiences: Who watches whom? How does excessive violence
intervene in the narratives? How is poverty portrayed? In answering these questions,
the paper covers four key aesthetic points: the monitored body and examined desire;
misogyny and the violent gaze; displayed poverty and the criminalization of the
underclass; and womanness, violent, and festive deaths. I argue that the characters in
the films, including ex-convicts, welfare recipients, disabled people, defectors, and
elderly people living alone, can be categorized not just as others but also as the
underclass who lack “cultural capital.” Jeon’s films question the view that the extreme
polarization of wealth and poverty is not considered aberrant but rather becomes the
natural order of life. His films are at the crossroads of “the minoritizing view” and
“the universalizing view” of underclass, and they contain the potential to constantly
highlight underclass issues.

Underclass, misogyny, femicide, poverty, ex-convicts, people with disabilities, North
Korean defectors, cultural capital, Jeon Kyu-hwan, Animal Town, Dance Town