It had been about three years ago that we was brought to the very idea of region-free DVD playback, a nearly necessary condition for readers of DVD Beaver. Consequently, an entire realm of Asian film that was heretofore unknown to me or from my reach opened up. I had already absorbed decades of Kurosawa and, recently, a smattering of classic Hong Kong gangster and fantasy films by using our local Hong Kong Film Festival. Of Korean films, I knew nothing. But within the next couple of months, with my new and surprisingly cheap multi-region DVD player, I found myself immersed in beautiful DVD editions of Oldboy, Peppermint Candy, Memories of Murder, Sisily 2Km, Taegukgi, In to the Mirror, Oasis and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance – with lots more following close on his or her heels. This became a completely new world of leading edge cinema for me.
A few months into this adventure, a colleague lent me a copy of your first disc of the Korean television series, 韓劇dvd專賣店. He claimed that this drama had just finished a six month’s run as typically the most popular Korean television series ever, and that the latest English subtitles by YA-Entertainment were quite readable. “Maybe you’ll want it, perhaps not.” He knew my tastes pretty well by then, but the idea of a tv series, not to mention one designed for Korean mainstream TV, was hardly something that lit the obligatory fire under me. After two episodes, I used to be hooked.
I understood my fascination with Korean cinema, but television! It was a mystery. How could this be, I puzzled? I wasn’t everything that hooked on American TV. West Wing, Sopranos, Buffy – sure. Maybe I had pan-tastes, having said that i still considered myself as discriminating. So, what was the attraction – one may even say, compulsion that persists to this particular day? During the last couple of years I have got watched, faithfully, eight complete series, in historical and contemporary settings – each one of these averaging 20 hours – and I’m halfway into Jumong, which happens to be over 80 hour long episodes! What is my problem!
Though you will find obvious similarities to Western primetime dramas, cable and even daytime soaps, Korean primetime television dramas – that they can commonly call “miniseries” since the West already had a handy, otherwise altogether accurate term – are a unique art. They can be structured like our miniseries in they have a pre-ordained beginning, middle and end. While a lot longer than our miniseries – even episodes certainly are a whole hour long, not counting commercials, that happen to be usually front loaded just before the episode begins – they do not continue on for five, six or seven seasons, like Alias or Star Trek: Voyager, or generations, such as the Days of Our Everyday Lives. The nearest thing we must Korean dramas is probably any given season of your Wire. Primetime television in Korea is really nothing but dramas and news. So Korea’s three very competitive networks (MBC, KBS and SBS) have gotten excellent at it over time, especially since the early 1990s as soon as the government eased its censorship about content, which often got their creative juices going.
Korean dramas were jump-were only available in 1991 from the hugely successful Eyes of Dawn, set between your Japanese invasion of WWII and the Korean War from the early 1950s. In 1995 the highly acclaimed series, The Sandglass, managed to make it clear to a audience beyond the country that Korea was certainly onto something. The Sandglass deftly and intelligently melded the world of organized crime as well as the ever-present love story up against the backdrop of the was then recent Korean political history, particularly the events of 1980 called the Gwang-ju Democratization Movement along with the government’s crushing military response (think: Tienamin Square.) Nevertheless it wasn’t until 2002, with Yoon Suk-Ho’s Winter Sonata, that everything we now call the “Korean Wave” really took off. Winter Sonata very quickly swept over Asia like atsunami, soon landing in Hawaii and so the Mainland, where Korean dramas already enjoyed a modest, but loyal following.
Right about then, Tom Larsen, who had previously worked for YesAsia.com, started his very own company in San Bruno, California: YA-Entertainment (not to be wrongly identified as YesAsia) to distribute the most effective Korean dramas with proper English subtitles in Canada And America. To the end, YAE (as Tom likes to call his company) secured the necessary licenses to do just that with all of the major Korean networks. I spent several hours with Tom a week ago speaking about our mutual interest. Larsen had first gone to Korea for a couple of years like a volunteer, then came returning to the States in order to complete college where he naturally, but gradually, worked his distance to a Korean Language degree at Brigham Young. He came upon his fascination with Korean dramas accidentally when one his professors used a then current weekly series to help his students study Korean. An unexpected side effect was which he and his awesome schoolmates became totally hooked on the drama itself. Larsen has since made several trips to Korea for longer stays. I’ll get back to how YAE works shortly, however I wish to try a minimum of to answer the question: Why Korean Dramas?
Area of the answer, I do believe, is in the unique strengths of the shows: Purity, Sincerity, Passion. Perhaps the hallmark of Korean dramas (and, at some level, in many of the feature films) can be a relative purity of character. Each character’s psychology and motivation is clear, clean, archetypical. This is not to express they are not complex. Rather a character is just not made complicated arbitrarily. Psychological understanding of the character, as expressed by his or her behavior, is – I judge – often more correctly manifest than what we notice on American television series: Character complexity is far more convincing once the core self is not focused on fulfilling the requirements of this or that producer, sponsor or target age range or subculture.
Korea can be a damaged and split country, as well as many more whose borders are drawn by powers apart from themselves, invaded and colonized many times across the centuries. Koreans are, therefore, acutely responsive to questions of divided loyalties. Korean dramas often explore the conflict between your modern and also the traditional – even during the historical series. Conflicts of obligations are usually the prime motivation while focusing for the dramatic narrative, often expressed in generational terms throughout the family. There is something very reassuring about these dramas. . . not in the 1950s happy ending sense, for indeed, there are few happy endings in Korean dramas. Compared to American tv shows: Korean TV dramas have simpler, yet compelling story lines, and natural, sympathetic acting of characters we are able to believe in.
Maybe the most arresting feature of your acting is the passion that is delivered to performance. There’s a good deal of heartfelt angst which, viewed away from context, can strike the unsuspecting Westerner as somewhat laughable. But also in context, such expressions of emotion are powerful and interesting, strikinmg to the heart in the conflict. Korean actors and audiences, young or old, unlike our personal, are immersed with their country’s political context along with their history. The emotional connection actors make for the characters they portray has a level of truth that is certainly projected instantly, without the conventional distance we manage to require within the west.
Much like the 2017推薦韓劇 of your 1940s, the characters inside a Korean drama have got a directness concerning their greed, their desires, their weaknesses, as well as their righteousness, and so are fully dedicated to the outcomes. It’s hard to say in the event the writing in Korean dramas has anything just like the bite and grit of the 40s or 50s American film (given our reliance upon a translation, however well-intended) – I rather doubt it. Instead, particularly in the historical series, the actors wear their emotional connection to their character on their own face as a sort of character mask. It’s one of many conventions of Korean drama we will see clearly what another character cannot, though they can be “right there” – type of just like a stage whisper.
I actually have for ages been a supporter of your less-is-more school of drama. Not really that I like a blank stage in modern street clothes, but that too much detail can change an otherwise involved participant in to a passive observer. Also, the better detail, the greater chance which i will occur with an error which will take me out from the reality the art director has so carefully constructed (such as the 1979 penny that Chris Reeves finds within his pocket in Somewhere soon enough.) Graphic presentations with sensational story lines have a short-term objective: to maintain the viewer interested before the next commercial. There is absolutely no long term objective.
A large plus is the story lines of Korean dramas are, with only a few exceptions, only as long as they should be, after which the series goes to a stop. It does not persist with contrived excuses to re-invent its characters. Nor is the size of a series based on the “television season” since it is in the Usa K-dramas usually are not mini-series. Typically, they can be between 17-24 / 7-long episodes, though some have 50 plus episodes (e.g. Emperor in the Sea, Dae Jang Geum, and Jumong).
Korean actors are relatively unknown to American audiences. These are disarming, engaging and, despite their youth or pop status in Korea (as is truly the case), are generally more skilled than American actors of a similar age. For this is the rule in Korea, rather than exception, that high profile actors do both television and film. Over these dramas, we Westerners have the advantage of understanding people not the same as ourselves, often remarkably attractive, which contains an appeal in its own right.
Korean dramas possess a resemblance to a different one dramatic form once familiar to us and currently in disrepute: the ” melodrama.” Wikipedia, describes “melodrama” as from the Greek word for song “melody”, put together with “drama”. Music is commonly used to increase the emotional response or suggest characters. There exists a tidy structure or formula to melodrama: a villain poses a threat, the hero escapes the threat (or rescues the heroine) and there is a happy ending. In melodrama there is certainly constructed a arena of heightened emotion, stock characters and a hero who rights the disturbance for the balance of great and evil inside a universe using a clear moral division.
Apart from the “happy ending” part and an infinite availability of trials both for hero and heroine – usually, the latter – this description isn’t thus far away from the mark. But most importantly, the thought of the melodrama underscores another essential distinction between Korean and Western drama, and that is certainly the role of music. Western television shows and, to some great extent, present-day cinema utilizes music in the comparatively casual way. A United States TV series will have a signature theme that might or might not – usually not – get worked into the score being a show goes along. Many of the music can there be to assist the atmosphere or provide additional energy towards the action sequences. Not with Korean dramas – where the music is commonly used more like musical theatre, even opera. Certain themes represent specific characters or relationships between them. The music is deliberately and intensely passionate and may stand naturally. Almost every series has at least one song (not sung by way of a character) that appears during especially sensitive moments. The lyric is reflective and poetic. Many television soundtrack albums are hugely successful in Asia. The songs for Winter Sonata, Seo Dong Yo, Palace and Jumong are common excellent examples.
The setting for any typical Korean drama could be just about anyplace: home, office, or outdoors which may have the main advantage of familiar and fewer known locations. The producers of Dae Jang Geum developed a small working village and palace for that filming, which has since become a popular tourist attraction. A series could be one or a combination of familiar genres: romances, comedies, political or crime thrillers or historical dramas. As the settings are usually familiar, the traditions and, often, the costumes making-up can be very distinctive from Western shows. Some customs might be fascinating, although some exasperating, even during contemporary settings – in terms of example, in the winter months Sonata, just how the female lead character, Yujin, is ostracized by relatives and buddies once she balks on her engagement, a predicament that Korean audiences can definitely connect with.
Korean TV dramas, like every other art form, have their share of conventions: chance meetings, instant flashback replays, highly fantasized love stories, chance meetings, character masks, chance meetings, which all can appear like unnecessary time-stoppers to Americans who are utilized to a speedy pace. I recommend not suppressing the inevitable giggle out of some faux-respect, but recognize that these matters feature the territory. My feeling: Whenever you can appreciate Mozart, you should certainly appreciate the pace and conventionality of Dae Jang Geum. More modern adult dramas like Alone for each other claim that many of these conventions may have already started to play themselves out.
Episodes get through to the YAE office in San Bruno on Digital Beta (a 1:1 copy in the master which was utilized for the specific broadcast) where it is screened for possible imperfections (in which case, the network is asked to send another.) The Beta is downloaded inside a lossless format to the pc as well as a low-resolution copy is 25dexjpky for the translator. Translation is carried out in stages: first a Korean-speaking person that knows English, then this reverse. The high-resolution computer master is then tweaked for contrast and color. Once the translation is finalized, it really is put into the master, being careful to time the appearance of the subtitle with speech. Then the whole show is screened for additional improvements in picture and translation. A 日劇dvd is constructed which has every one of the menu instructions and completed picture and subtitles. The DLT is then delivered to factories in Korea or Hong Kong for that manufacture of the discs.
Regardless of if the picture is formatted in 4:3 or 16:9, typically, the image quality is very good, sometimes exceptional; and the audio (music, dialogue and foley) is obvious and dynamic, drawing the crowd into the some time and place, the storyline and also the characters. For those of us who may have made the jump to light speed, we are able to plan to eventually new drama series in high-definition transfers within the not very distant future.