Gemma Ballard


School of English

Research Student

  • BA in English and Film, University of Derby.
  • MA English Literature (film pathway), University of Sheffield.
Research interests
  • Film Studies
  • East Asian Cinema
  • Postmodern Urban Landscapes

I am currently researching millennial South Korean cinema and its exploration of the postmodern cityscape and the 'self', which primarily examines how generic tropes of narrative, character and genre are often challenged and defamiliarised within urban cinematic spaces.

By using the image of Seoul as a primary source of representation, South Korea's cinematic character, identity and style remains fundamentally different from other East Asian film discourses.

I am also interested in the multifaceted nature of Seoul's urban identity and the various ways that this is articulated and addressed on the cinema screen.

Contemporary Korean film often posits Seoul as a purgatorial space, presenting the city as both an authentic metropolis upon which national identity is entirely dependent, as well as a highly constructed, and cinematically functional, diegetic world.

Research group


  • Dr Jonathan Raynor
  • Dr Kate Taylor-Jones
  • ‘The City and the Self: Intertextuality, Masculine Identity and Images of Postmodernity in Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver (1976) and Michael Mann’s Heat (1995)’ in Exclamation: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Volume 2, 2018, pp. 40-58.