Translating code-switching in the colonial context
Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden
Park Chan-wook, one of the most internationally acclaimed Korean filmmakers, uses language as an important aspect of characterization in The Handmaiden, his adaptation of Sarah Water’s novel Fingersmith. The historical background and the characters’ nationalities are changed, but code-switching between two languages – i.e., Korean and Japanese – recurs throughout the film, thereby enhancing its relevance for the Korean audience. Drawing on the notion of ‘proximity’ and reader response theory, this study examines the role of languages in Park’s characterization and proximation of the original work for the Korean audience, and the extent to which the shifts in proximity and the use of languages contribute to British audiences’ affective experiences when this Korean adaptation is subtitled in English.
- The colonial setting of The Handmaiden
- Code-switching, characterization, and Korean audiences’ affective experiences
- Code-switching in English subtitles and British audiences’ affective experiences