Before embarking upon a filmmaking career, Korean-Chinese director Zhang Lu was a novelist and a professor of Chinese Literature at Yanbian University in Northeastern China. His career embodies a series of migrations including his media migration from literature to film. Similarly, his narrative often draws on an expansive trajectory of migration across national borders and sets in diasporic spaces inhabited by strangers, travellers, and exiles. The article identifies a set of distinctive aesthetic and thematic features in Zhang Lu's films to examine the meaning of "border" in today's world where border-crossing has become an everyday practice for some yet, for others, the most perilous act of survival. This discussion takes particular interest in the director's aesthetic choice of slow cinema as a gesture towards counterbalancing the dynamism of Korean blockbusters whose action-packed spectacles are intended to represent the nationalist yearning for action, progress, and prosperity. Rather than enacting the Korean dream of rapid entrance to the First World, his films are deliberately slowed down in order to observe how the Korean dream simultaneously allures and thwarts not only ethnic, national, and cultural others but also socioeconomically marginalized Koreans. Through the analysis of Desert Dream (2007) and A Quiet Dream (2016), the aim is to identify a possible alternative to the highly commercialized Korean cinema in Zhang Lu's cinema of inaction. The two films seek a new cinematic expression to embrace an increasingly multicultural South Korea and its permeable boundaries in the face of the transnational fusion of people and cultures.


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pp. 117-140
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