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This article examines director Kim Ki-Duk’s film 3-iron, also known as Empty House, as a crucial “threshold” to the cultural transformation of Korean society in the 21st century. Threshold here is used as a metaphor to refer to the entrance to a different situation, but at the same time a state with indefinite and latent possibilities. By examining Empty House as a threshold which represents itself as a symptomatic text that reveals the cultural transformation of Korean society, the author analyzes the ambivalent characteristics of the film from various angles, such as silent image, representation of minorities, and global/local cinema.
Disappearance is meaningful in Empty House and is interpreted as a certain kind of deadlock which the subordinate subject of the 21st century Korean society faces: a moment when the political subject finally disappears. The important meaning of the film Empty House, as a threshold, is that it takes part of one axis of the common desire that is characteristic of 21st century Korean society, but at the same time shows the price Korean society has had to pay for that desire.