It was actually about three in the past that we was exposed to the concept of region-free DVD playback, a virtually necessary condition for readers of DVD Beaver. Consequently, a huge realm of Asian film which was heretofore unknown in my opinion or from my reach showed. I needed already absorbed decades of Kurosawa and, more 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 on the next few months, with my new and surprisingly cheap multi-region DVD player, I had been immersed in beautiful DVD editions of Oldboy, Peppermint Candy, Memories of Murder, Sisily 2Km, Taegukgi, In the Mirror, Oasis and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance – with lots more following close on the heels. This became a new arena of really advanced cinema in my opinion.
Several months into this adventure, a pal lent me a copy of your first disc in the Korean television series, 韓劇dvd專賣店. He claimed how the drama had just finished a six month’s run as the most famous Korean television series ever, which the brand new English subtitles by YA-Entertainment were quite readable. “Maybe you’ll want it, maybe not.” He knew my tastes pretty well at that time, but the concept of a television series, let alone one made for Korean mainstream TV, was hardly an issue that lit the obligatory fire under me. After two episodes, I was hooked.
I understood my fascination with Korean cinema, but television! This was a mystery. How could this be, I puzzled? I wasn’t everything hooked on American TV. West Wing, Sopranos, Buffy – sure. Maybe I needed pan-tastes, but I still thought of myself as discriminating. So, what was the attraction – one might even say, compulsion that persists for this day? Over the last year or two I have watched, faithfully, eight complete series, in historical and contemporary settings – each averaging 20 hours – and I’m halfway into Jumong, which can be over 80 hour long episodes! Precisely what is my problem!
Though there are actually obvious similarities to Western primetime dramas, cable and even daytime soaps, Korean primetime television dramas – that they commonly call “miniseries” since the West already enjoyed a handy, or even altogether accurate term – can be a unique art. They may be structured like our miniseries in that they have a pre-ordained beginning, middle and end. While much longer than our miniseries – even episodes really are a whole hour long, not counting commercials, which are usually front loaded ahead of the episode begins – they are doing not continue for five, six or seven seasons, like Alias or Star Trek: Voyager, or generations, much like the Days of Our Way Of Life. The closest thing we must Korean dramas could very well be virtually any season in the Wire. Primetime television in Korea is really outright dramas and news. So Korea’s three very competitive networks (MBC, KBS and SBS) have gotten great at it over the years, especially because the early 1990s once the government eased its censorship about content, which got their creative juices going.
Korean dramas were jump-began in 1991 through the hugely successful Eyes of Dawn, set between your Japanese invasion of WWII as well as the Korean War from the early 1950s. In 1995 the highly acclaimed series, The Sandglass, managed to make it clear with an audience away from the country that Korea was certainly onto something. The Sandglass deftly and intelligently melded the field of organized crime and the ever-present love story against the backdrop of the was then recent Korean political history, especially the events of 1980 called the Gwang-ju Democratization Movement as well as the government’s crushing military response (think: Tienamin Square.) But it wasn’t until 2002, with Yoon Suk-Ho’s Winter Sonata, that whatever we now call the “Korean Wave” really took off. Winter Sonata quickly swept over Asia like atsunami, soon landing in Hawaii and therefore the Mainland, where Korean dramas already possessed a modest, but loyal following.
Right about then, Tom Larsen, who had previously worked for YesAsia.com, started his company in San Bruno, California: YA-Entertainment (to not be mistaken for YesAsia) to distribute the most effective Korean dramas with proper English subtitles in North America. To this particular end, YAE (as Tom likes to call his company) secured the required licenses to complete that with all the major Korean networks. I spent a few hours with Tom last week referring to our mutual interest. Larsen had first gone to Korea for just two years as being a volunteer, then came back to the States to complete college where he naturally, but gradually, worked his way into a Korean Language degree at Brigham Young. He came upon his curiosity about Korean dramas accidentally when one his professors used a then current weekly series to assist his students study Korean. An unexpected complication was that he or she and his schoolmates became hooked on the drama itself. Larsen has since made several trips to Korea for extended stays. I’ll come back to how YAE works shortly, however I would like to try no less than to reply to the question: Why Korean Dramas?
Area of the answer, I believe, lies in the unique strengths of these shows: Purity, Sincerity, Passion. Probably the hallmark of Korean dramas (and, to some degree, in lots of with their feature films) is really a relative purity of character. Each character’s psychology and motivation is apparent, clean, archetypical. This is not to express they are not complex. Rather a character is not really made complicated arbitrarily. Psychological understanding of the type, as expressed by her or his behavior, is – I judge – often more correctly manifest compared to what we see on American television series: Character complexity is much more convincing when the core self is not really focused on fulfilling the needs of this or that producer, sponsor or target age range or subculture.
Korea can be a damaged and split country, much like many others whose borders are drawn by powers besides themselves, invaded and colonized several times over the centuries. Koreans are, therefore, acutely sensitive to questions of divided loyalties. Korean dramas often explore the conflict involving the modern as well as the traditional – even during the historical series. Conflicts of obligations are often the prime motivation while focusing to the dramatic narrative, often expressed in generational terms throughout the family. There exists something very reassuring about these dramas. . . not in the 1950s happy ending sense, for indeed, there are actually few happy endings in Korean dramas. When compared with American tv shows: Korean TV dramas have simpler, yet compelling story lines, and natural, sympathetic acting of characters we can believe in.
Perhaps the most arresting feature of your acting will be the passion that is certainly brought to performance. There’s a good deal of heartfelt angst which, viewed away from context, can strike the unsuspecting Westerner as somewhat laughable. Nevertheless in context, such expressions of emotion are powerful and interesting, strikinmg for the heart in the conflict. Korean actors and audiences, old or young, unlike our, are immersed in their country’s political context in addition to their history. The emotional connection actors make on the characters they portray has a level of truth which is projected instantly, without the conventional distance we manage to require from the west.
Much like the 2017推薦韓劇 from the 1940s, the characters in the Korean drama have a directness regarding their greed, their desires, their weaknesses, along with their righteousness, and they are fully committed to the results. It’s tough to say when the writing in Korean dramas has anything just like the bite and grit of the 40s or 50s American film (given our dependence on a translation, however well-intended) – I rather doubt it. Instead, specifically in the historical series, the actors wear their emotional link to their character on his or her face as a sort of character mask. It’s one of the conventions of Korean drama that people will see clearly what another character cannot, though they are “there” – form of similar to a stage whisper.
We have long been a supporter of the less-is-more school of drama. Not too I enjoy a blank stage in modern street clothes, but that too much detail can change an otherwise involved participant into a passive observer. Also, the greater number of detail, the greater chance i may happen on an error which will take me out of the reality how the art director has so carefully constructed (like the 1979 penny that Chris Reeves finds in their pocket in Somewhere in Time.) Graphic presentations with sensational story lines have a short-term objective: to help keep the viewer interested before the next commercial. There is not any long term objective.
A major plus would be that the story lines of Korean dramas are, with only a few exceptions, only if they should be, and after that the series goes to an end. It can do not persist with contrived excuses to re-invent its characters. Nor is the length of a series dependant on the “television season” because it is in the U.S. K-dramas are certainly not mini-series. Typically, they can be between 17-round-the-clock-long episodes, though some have over 50 episodes (e.g. Emperor from 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 often the case), are typically more skilled than American actors of the similar age. For this is the rule in Korea, as opposed to the exception, that high profile actors do both television and film. Within these dramas, we Westerners have the main benefit of learning people distinctive from ourselves, often remarkably attractive, which includes an appeal in the own right.
Korean dramas possess a resemblance to another dramatic form once familiar to us and currently in disrepute: the ” melodrama.” Wikipedia, describes “melodrama” as coming from the Greek word for song “melody”, combined with “drama”. Music is commonly used to boost the emotional response or to suggest characters. There is a tidy structure or formula to melodrama: a villain poses a threat, the hero escapes the threat (or rescues the heroine) and there exists a happy ending. In melodrama there is constructed a field of heightened emotion, stock characters plus a hero who rights the disturbance to the balance of proper and evil within a universe by using a clear moral division.
Aside from the “happy ending” part along with an infinite supply of trials both for hero and heroine – usually, the latter – this description isn’t thus far off of the mark. But most importantly, the idea of the melodrama underscores another essential distinction between Korean and Western drama, and that is the role of music. Western tv shows and, to some great extent, modern cinema utilizes music within a comparatively casual way. A United States TV series may have a signature theme that might or might not – not often – get worked in the score like a show goes along. Many of the music is there to assist the atmosphere or provide additional energy to the action sequences. Less than with Korean dramas – in which the music can be used much more like musical theatre, even opera. Certain themes represent specific characters or relationships between the two. The tunes is deliberately and intensely passionate and might stand naturally. Virtually every series has a minimum of one song (not sung by a character) that appears during especially sensitive moments. The lyric is reflective and poetic. Many television soundtrack albums are hugely successful in Asia. The music for Winter Sonata, Seo Dong Yo, Palace and Jumong are typical excellent examples.
The setting for a typical Korean drama could be just about anyplace: home, office, or outdoors which have the main advantage of familiar and less known locations. The producers of Dae Jang Geum created a small working village and palace for your filming, which includes since develop into a popular tourist attraction. A series could be one or a mix of familiar genres: romances, comedies, political or crime thrillers or historical dramas. Whilst the settings are usually familiar, the traditions and, often, the costumes to make-up can be extremely distinct from Western shows. Some customs may be fascinating, while some exasperating, even in contemporary settings – regarding example, in Winter Sonata, exactly how the female lead character, Yujin, is ostracized by friends and relations once she balks on her engagement, a predicament that Korean audiences can actually connect with.
Korean TV dramas, like all other art, get their share of conventions: chance meetings, instant flashback replays, highly fantasized love stories, chance meetings, character masks, chance meetings, which all can feel like unnecessary time-stoppers to Americans who are widely used to a speedy pace. I recommend not suppressing the inevitable giggle away from some faux-respect, but know that this stuff come with the territory. My feeling: When you can appreciate Mozart, you should be able to appreciate the pace and conventionality of Dae Jang Geum. More recent adult dramas like Alone for each other propose that some of these conventions might have already begun to play themselves out.
Episodes get through to the YAE office in San Bruno on Digital Beta (a 1:1 copy from the master which had been employed for the specific broadcast) where it can be screened for possible imperfections (whereby, the network is required to send another.) The Beta is downloaded in a lossless format to the computer plus a low-resolution copy is 25dexjpky to the translator. Translation is completed in stages: first a Korean-speaking individual that knows English, then a reverse. The top-resolution computer master will then be tweaked for contrast and color. If the translation is finalized, it can be entered the master, taking care to time the appearance of the subtitle with speech. Then the whole show is screened for more improvements in picture and translation. A 日劇dvd is constructed that has all the menu instructions and completed picture and subtitles. The DLT will then be sent to factories in Korea or Hong Kong for your output of the discs.
Whether or not the picture is formatted in 4:3 or 16:9, in most cases, the photo quality is very good, sometimes exceptional; along with the audio (music, dialogue and foley) is clear and dynamic, drawing the audience in to the time as well as place, the story and also the characters. For people that have made the jump to light speed, we are able to expect to eventually new drama series in high definition transfers from the not too distant future.