It was around three in the past that we was brought to the idea of region-free DVD playback, an almost necessary condition for readers of DVD Beaver. Consequently, a complete world of Asian film that had been heretofore unknown in my opinion or out from my reach exposed. I had 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 found myself 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 is a whole new world of really advanced cinema to me.
A few months into this adventure, a buddy lent me a copy of your first disc from 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 common Korean television series ever, which the brand new English subtitles by YA-Entertainment were quite readable. “Maybe you’ll like it, maybe not.” He knew my tastes pretty well at that time, but the thought of a television series, not to mention one designed for Korean mainstream TV, was hardly something which lit the obligatory fire under me. After two episodes, I found myself hooked.
I understood my fascination with Korean cinema, but television! It was unknown. How could this be, I puzzled? I wasn’t everything that totally hooked on American TV. West Wing, Sopranos, Buffy – sure. Maybe I had pan-tastes, having said that i still thought about myself as discriminating. So, that which was the attraction – one may even say, compulsion that persists to the day? Over the last couple of years I have watched, faithfully, eight complete series, in historical and contemporary settings – every one averaging 20 hours – and I’m halfway into Jumong, that is over 80 hour long episodes! What is my problem!
Though there are obvious similarities to Western primetime dramas, cable and in many cases daytime soaps, Korean primetime television dramas – they will commonly call “miniseries” for the reason that West already had a handy, otherwise altogether accurate term – can be a unique art form. They can be structured like our miniseries in they have a pre-ordained beginning, middle and end. While for a longer time than our miniseries – even episodes can be a whole hour long, not counting commercials, that are usually front loaded before the episode begins – they do not continue on for five, six or seven seasons, like Alias or Star Trek: Voyager, or even for generations, like The Days of Our Way Of Life. The closest thing we have to Korean dramas could very well be virtually any season from the 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 great at it through the years, especially since the early 1990s as soon as the government eased its censorship about content, which got their creative juices going.
Korean dramas were jump-started in 1991 through the hugely successful Eyes of Dawn, set involving the Japanese invasion of WWII as well as the Korean War from the early 1950s. In 1995 the highly acclaimed series, The Sandglass, managed to get clear for an audience beyond the country that Korea was certainly onto something. The Sandglass deftly and intelligently melded the industry of organized crime and also the ever-present love story from the backdrop of what was then recent Korean political history, specially the events of 1980 referred to as 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 quickly swept over Asia like atsunami, soon landing in Hawaii and then 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 very own company in San Bruno, California: YA-Entertainment (to never be wrongly identified as YesAsia) to distribute the ideal Korean dramas with proper English subtitles in America. To this end, YAE (as Tom loves to call his company) secured the required licenses to do exactly that with all the major Korean networks. I spent a few hours with Tom a couple weeks ago talking about our mutual interest. Larsen had first gone to Korea for a couple of years as a volunteer, then came straight 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 fascination with Korean dramas accidentally when one his professors used a then current weekly series to help you his students study Korean. An unexpected complication was which he along with his schoolmates became totally hooked on the drama itself. Larsen has since made several trips to Korea for prolonged stays. I’ll return to how YAE works shortly, but first I wish to try a minimum of to respond to the question: Why Korean Dramas?
Area of the answer, I believe, is based on the unique strengths of those shows: Purity, Sincerity, Passion. Perhaps the hallmark of Korean dramas (and, to some degree, in several of the feature films) is actually a relative purity of character. Each character’s psychology and motivation is clear, clean, archetypical. This is not to say they are certainly not complex. Rather a character is not made complicated arbitrarily. Psychological comprehension of the character, as expressed by his / her behavior, is – I judge – often more correctly manifest than what we see on American television series: Character complexity is a lot more convincing when the core self is just not concerned with fulfilling the requirements this or that producer, sponsor or target age range or subculture.
Korea is really a damaged and split country, as well as many others whose borders are drawn by powers aside from themselves, invaded and colonized many times within the centuries. Koreans are, therefore, acutely responsive to questions of divided loyalties. Korean dramas often explore the conflict between the modern along with the traditional – in the historical series. Conflicts of obligations are often the prime motivation and concentration for the dramatic narrative, often expressed in generational terms within the family. There exists something very reassuring about these dramas. . . not from the 1950s happy ending sense, for indeed, there are few happy endings in Korean dramas. In comparison to American tv shows: Korean TV dramas have simpler, yet compelling story lines, and natural, sympathetic acting of characters we can have faith in.
Maybe the most arresting feature of the acting will be the passion that is taken to performance. There’s a good deal of heartfelt angst which, viewed from context, can strike the unsuspecting Westerner as somewhat laughable. However in context, such expressions of emotion are powerful and engaging, strikinmg to the heart in the conflict. Korean actors and audiences, old or young, unlike our very own, are immersed inside their country’s political context as well as their history. The emotional connection actors make on the characters they portray has a degree of truth that is certainly projected instantly, minus the conventional distance we manage to require from the west.
Just like the 韓劇dvd of your 1940s, the characters in the Korean drama have a directness concerning their greed, their desires, their weaknesses, and their righteousness, and they are fully dedicated to the consequences. It’s difficult to say in the event the writing in Korean dramas has anything such as the bite and grit of your 40s or 50s American film (given our reliance upon a translation, however well-intended) – I rather doubt it. Instead, specially in the historical series, the actors wear their emotional link with their character on his or her face as a sort of character mask. It’s one of the conventions of Korean drama that we will see clearly what another character cannot, though they are “there” – type of such as a stage whisper.
I have always been a supporter of the less-is-more school of drama. Not really that I favor a blank stage in modern street clothes, but this too much detail can change an otherwise involved participant into a passive observer. Also, the greater number of detail, the better chance that I will occur with an error that can take me out of the reality that this art director has so carefully constructed (like the 1979 penny that Chris Reeves finds in the pocket in Somewhere soon enough.) Graphic presentations with sensational story lines have got a short-term objective: to help keep the viewer interested till the next commercial. There is not any long term objective.
A major plus is the story lines of Korean dramas are, with only a few exceptions, only if they have to be, after which the series concerns a stop. It can do not persist with contrived excuses to re-invent its characters. Nor is the duration of a series based on the “television season” as it is within the Usa K-dramas usually are not mini-series. Typically, they are between 17-round-the-clock-long episodes, though some have over 50 episodes (e.g. Emperor of the Sea, Dae Jang Geum, and Jumong).
Korean actors are relatively unknown to American audiences. They are disarming, engaging and, despite their youth or pop status in Korea (as is often the case), are in most cases more skilled than American actors of your similar age. For it is the rule in Korea, instead of the exception, that high profile actors do both television and film. During these dramas, we Westerners have the benefit of getting to know people not the same as ourselves, often remarkably attractive, which contains an appeal within its own right.
Korean dramas have got a resemblance to another one dramatic form once familiar to us and currently in disrepute: the ” melodrama.” Wikipedia, describes “melodrama” as coming from the Greek word for song “melody”, along with “drama”. Music is commonly used to boost the emotional response or perhaps to 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 exists a happy ending. In melodrama there exists constructed a field of heightened emotion, stock characters along with a hero who rights the disturbance for the balance of great and evil within a universe by using a clear moral division.
Aside from the “happy ending” part and an infinite source of trials for hero and heroine – usually, the latter – this description isn’t so far off the mark. But most importantly, the thought of the melodrama underscores another essential distinction between Korean and Western drama, and that is the role of music. Western tv shows and, to your great extent, present day cinema uses music inside a comparatively casual way. A United States TV series can have a signature theme that might or might not – not often – get worked in to the score like a show goes along. The majority of the music could there be to support the mood or provide additional energy to the action sequences. Less than with Korean dramas – the location where the music is commonly used similar to musical theatre, even opera. Certain themes represent specific characters or relationships between them. The music is deliberately and intensely passionate and may stand alone. Almost every series has a minumum of 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 all excellent examples.
The setting for a typical Korean drama could possibly be just about anywhere: home, office, or outdoors who have the main advantage of familiar and much less known locations. The producers of Dae Jang Geum launched a small working village and palace to the filming, which includes since develop into a popular tourist attraction. A series could possibly be one or a combination of familiar genres: romances, comedies, political or crime thrillers or historical dramas. Whilst the settings are often familiar, the traditions and, often, the costumes and then make-up are often very different from Western shows. Some customs can be fascinating, although some exasperating, even in contemporary settings – as for example, during winter Sonata, how the female lead character, Yujin, is ostracized by friends and family once she balks in her engagement, a predicament that Korean audiences really can relate to.
Korean TV dramas, like every other art form, get their share of conventions: chance meetings, instant flashback replays, highly fantasized love stories, chance meetings, character masks, chance meetings, which can seem to be like unnecessary time-stoppers to Americans who are utilized to a quick pace. I suggest not suppressing the inevitable giggle from some faux-respect, but understand that this stuff include the territory. My feeling: Whenever 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 could have already started to play themselves out.
Episodes reach the YAE office in San Bruno on Digital Beta (a 1:1 copy through the master which had been utilized for the particular broadcast) where it is screened for possible imperfections (whereby, the network is inspired to send another.) The Beta is downloaded in the lossless format to the computer and a low-resolution copy is 25dexjpky to the translator. Translation is completed in stages: first a Korean-speaking individual that knows English, then this reverse. The top-resolution computer master is then tweaked for contrast and color. When the translation is finalized, it can be applied for the master, taking care to time the appearance of the subtitle with speech. Then a whole show is screened for more improvements in picture and translation. A 2017推薦日劇 is constructed that has every one of the menu instructions and completed picture and subtitles. The DLT will then be delivered to factories in Korea or Hong Kong for the manufacture of the discs.
Whether the picture is formatted in 4:3 or 16:9, typically, the photo quality is excellent, sometimes exceptional; and the audio (music, dialogue and foley) is obvious and dynamic, drawing the audience to the some time and place, the story and the characters. For people who have made the jump to light speed, we can expect to eventually new drama series in hd transfers inside the not too distant future.