It absolutely was around three years back i was brought to the idea of region-free DVD playback, an almost necessary condition for readers of DVD Beaver. Consequently, a complete arena of Asian film that had been heretofore unknown to me or away 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 across the next few months, with my new and surprisingly cheap multi-region DVD player, I was immersed in beautiful DVD editions of Oldboy, Peppermint Candy, Memories of Murder, Sisily 2Km, Taegukgi, To the Mirror, Oasis and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance – with lots more following close on his or her heels. This was another field of innovative cinema for me.
Several months into this adventure, a colleague lent us a copy from the first disc in the Korean television series, 韓劇dvd專賣店. He claimed the drama had just finished a six month’s run as typically the most popular Korean television series ever, and that the newest English subtitles by YA-Entertainment were quite readable. “Maybe you’ll like it, maybe not.” He knew my tastes pretty well by then, but the notion of a television series, much less one made for Korean mainstream TV, was hardly an issue that lit the obligatory fire under me. After two episodes, I found myself hooked.
I understood my fascination with Korean cinema, but television! This became unknown. How could this be, I puzzled? I wasn’t everything that totally hooked on American TV. West Wing, Sopranos, Buffy – sure. Maybe I needed pan-tastes, having said that i still considered myself as discriminating. So, that which was the attraction – one may possibly say, compulsion that persists to the day? Over the past couple of years We have watched, faithfully, eight complete series, in historical and contemporary settings – every one averaging 20 hours – and I’m halfway into Jumong, which is over 80 hour long episodes! Exactly what is my problem!
Though there are actually obvious similarities to Western primetime dramas, cable and also daytime soaps, Korean primetime television dramas – which they commonly call “miniseries” as the West already possessed a handy, or else altogether accurate term – certainly are a unique art form. They can be structured like our miniseries in they have a pre-ordained beginning, middle and end. While considerably longer than our miniseries – the episodes certainly are a whole hour long, not counting commercials, which are usually front loaded ahead of the episode begins – they actually do not go on for five, six or seven seasons, like Alias or Star Trek: Voyager, or for generations, like The Events of Our Everyday Lives. The nearest thing we must Korean dramas could very well be any season of The Wire. Primetime television in Korea is pretty much simply dramas and news. So Korea’s three very competitive networks (MBC, KBS and SBS) have gotten great at it over the years, especially considering that the early 1990s once the government eased its censorship about content, which actually got their creative juices going.
Korean dramas were jump-were only available in 1991 with the hugely successful Eyes of Dawn, set in between the Japanese invasion of WWII and also the Korean War in the early 1950s. In 1995 the highly acclaimed series, The Sandglass, managed to make it clear for an audience outside of the country that Korea was certainly onto something. The Sandglass deftly and intelligently melded the world of organized crime and the ever-present love story from the backdrop of what was then recent Korean political history, especially the events of 1980 known as the Gwang-ju Democratization Movement and the government’s crushing military response (think: Tienamin Square.) But it really wasn’t until 2002, with Yoon Suk-Ho’s Winter Sonata, that what we now call the “Korean Wave” really took off. Winter Sonata very 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 very own company in San Bruno, California: YA-Entertainment (never to be confused with YesAsia) to distribute the most effective Korean dramas with proper English subtitles in Canada And America. To the end, YAE (as Tom loves to call his company) secured the desired licenses to accomplish that with all the major Korean networks. I spent a couple of hours with Tom a week 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 curiosity about Korean dramas accidentally when one his professors used a then current weekly series to assist his students study Korean. An unexpected unwanted effect was that he or she and his schoolmates became totally 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, but first I want to try no less than to resolve the question: Why Korean Dramas?
Portion of the answer, I believe, is in the unique strengths of those shows: Purity, Sincerity, Passion. Perhaps the hallmark of Korean dramas (and, at some level, in numerous in their feature films) is a relative purity of character. Each character’s psychology and motivation is clear, clean, archetypical. This is simply not to state they are certainly not complex. Rather a character is not really made complicated arbitrarily. Psychological understanding of the type, as expressed by their behavior, is – I judge – often more correctly manifest compared to what we notice on American television series: Character complexity is more convincing when the core self is not really concerned with fulfilling the needs of this or that producer, sponsor or target age range or subculture.
Korea is actually a damaged and split country, as are many others whose borders are drawn by powers besides themselves, invaded and colonized multiple times over the centuries. Koreans are, therefore, acutely responsive to questions of divided loyalties. Korean dramas often explore the conflict in between the modern and also the traditional – even during the historical series. Conflicts of obligations are frequently the prime motivation while focusing for the dramatic narrative, often expressed in generational terms in the family. There is certainly something very reassuring about these dramas. . . not within the 1950s happy ending sense, for indeed, there are actually 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 could have faith in.
Perhaps the most arresting feature in the acting is the passion that is certainly taken to performance. There’s a good deal of heartfelt angst which, viewed away from context, can strike the unsuspecting Westerner as somewhat laughable. But in context, such expressions of emotion are powerful and engaging, strikinmg on the heart in the conflict. Korean actors and audiences, young or old, unlike our own, are immersed within their country’s political context as well as their history. The emotional connection actors make to the characters they portray has a degree of truth that is projected instantly, minus the conventional distance we often require within the west.
Such as the 2017推薦韓劇 of the 1940s, the characters in a Korean drama have a directness regarding their greed, their desires, their weaknesses, in addition to their righteousness, and are fully committed to the results. It’s challenging to say if the writing in Korean dramas has anything like the bite and grit of your 40s or 50s American film (given our addiction to a translation, however well-intended) – I rather doubt it. Instead, specifically in the historical series, the actors wear their emotional connection to their character on their own face as a kind of character mask. It’s among the conventions of Korean drama that we are able to see clearly what another character cannot, though these are “right there” – form of like a stage whisper.
We have always been a supporter from 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 right into a passive observer. Also, the better detail, the greater chance that we can happen with an error which will take me from the reality the art director has so carefully constructed (like the 1979 penny that Chris Reeves finds in the pocket in Somewhere in Time.) Graphic presentations with sensational story lines have got a short-term objective: to keep the viewer interested until the next commercial. There is absolutely no long-term objective.
A large plus is the fact that story lines of Korean dramas are, with only a few exceptions, only as long as they must be, and after that the series concerns an end. It can do not persist with contrived excuses to re-invent its characters. Nor is the size of a series determined by the “television season” as it is inside the United states K-dramas are certainly not mini-series. Typically, they are between 17-round-the-clock-long episodes, though some have 50 plus episodes (e.g. Emperor of your 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 usually the case), are in most cases more skilled than American actors of any similar age. For it will be the rule in Korea, rather than exception, that high profile actors do both television and film. Within these dramas, we Westerners have the main benefit of learning 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 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 used to enhance 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 you will discover a happy ending. In melodrama there is constructed a world of heightened emotion, stock characters and a hero who rights the disturbance for the balance of great and evil in the universe by using a clear moral division.
Aside from the “happy ending” part as well as an infinite flow of trials for hero and heroine – usually, the second – this description isn’t thus far off the mark. But moreover, 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 in a comparatively casual way. A United States TV series will have a signature theme that might or might not – not often – get worked into the score as a show goes along. Many of the music could there be to support the mood or provide additional energy to the action sequences. Less than with Korean dramas – where 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 can stand alone. Almost every series has a minimum 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 tunes for Winter Sonata, Seo Dong Yo, Palace and Jumong are common excellent examples.
The setting for any typical Korean drama could possibly be just about anywhere: home, office, or outdoors which may have the main advantage of familiar and fewer known locations. The producers of Dae Jang Geum created a small working village and palace for your filming, which contains 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. While the settings are often familiar, the traditions and, often, the costumes and make-up can be quite different from Western shows. Some customs can be fascinating, while others exasperating, in contemporary settings – as for example, in the wintertime Sonata, how the female lead character, Yujin, is ostracized by family and friends once she balks in her engagement, a predicament that Korean audiences can actually relate with.
Korean TV dramas, like all other art form, have 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 widely used to a quick pace. I suggest not suppressing the inevitable giggle out from some faux-respect, but understand that these items include the territory. My feeling: If you can appreciate Mozart, you must be able to appreciate the pace and conventionality of Dae Jang Geum. More recent adult dramas like Alone in Love propose that many 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 your master which was employed for the specific 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 on the translator. Translation is performed in stages: first a Korean-speaking individual who knows English, then the reverse. Our prime-resolution computer master will then be tweaked for contrast and color. If the translation is finalized, it really is put into the master, being careful to time the appearance of the subtitle with speech. Then this whole show is screened for more improvements in picture and translation. A 日劇dvd is constructed which contains all the menu instructions and completed picture and subtitles. The DLT is going to be brought 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, generally, the photo quality is very good, sometimes exceptional; along with the audio (music, dialogue and foley) is clear and dynamic, drawing the viewers to the efforts and place, the tale along with the characters. For those of us who have made the jump to light speed, we are able to anticipate to eventually new drama series in high-definition transfers within the not very distant future.