In this article, I analyze Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden (Ah-gassi, 2016) by addressing its puzzle narrative and complex interactive dynamics as embodied and affective categories. In particular, I employ Mikhail Bakhtin’s theory of the chronotope together with Giuliana Bruno’s work on media theory and Steffen Hven’s notion of the embodied fabula to show how the film, in all its aesthetic complexity, enacts a creative and transformative experience based on the continuous subversion of the power dynamics I describe. Furthermore, I demonstrate how this semantic and experiential reconstruction couples viewers’ alignment with the two main characters in their rebellion against patriarchal power and obsessive male fantasies. Ultimately, then, in this article I aim to connect the experiential and affective engagement of the film with a critical reading of power dynamics as ecologically situated structures to be challenged and revolutionized through a creative process of becoming.
Jeff Smith, Dominic Topp, Jason Gendler and Francesco Sticchi
Giorgio Biancorosso, Situated Listening: The Sound of Absorption in Classical Cinema (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), xi + 246 pp., $55 (hardback), ISBN: 9780195374711. Reviewed by Jeff Smith
Lea Jacobs, Film Rhythm after Sound: Technology, Music, and Performance (Oakland: University of California Press, 2015), 280 pp., $34.95 (paperback), ISBN: 9780520279650. Reviewed by Dominic Topp
Miklós Kiss and Steven Willemsen, Impossible Puzzle Films: A Cognitive Approach to Contemporary Complex Cinema (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2017), 240 pp., £70.00 (hardback), £19.00 (paperback), ISBN: 9781474406727. Reviewed by Jason Gendler
Steffen Hven, Cinema and Narrative Complexity: Embodying the Fabula (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2017), 261 pp., €22.00 (paperback), ISBN 9789462980778. Reviewed by Francesco Sticchi