It had been around three years ago that I was exposed to the thought of region-free DVD playback, an almost necessary condition for readers of DVD Beaver. For that reason, an entire arena of Asian film that was heretofore unknown for me or from my reach opened. I needed 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 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 is a new world of really advanced cinema to me.
A couple of months into this adventure, a colleague lent me a copy in the first disc from the Korean television series, 韓劇dvd. He claimed that the drama had just finished a six month’s run as typically the most popular Korean television series ever, which the newest English subtitles by YA-Entertainment were quite readable. “Maybe you’ll enjoy it, maybe not.” He knew my tastes pretty well by then, but the notion of a television series, not to mention one made for Korean mainstream TV, was hardly something which 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 totally hooked on American TV. West Wing, Sopranos, Buffy – sure. Maybe I needed pan-tastes, however i still looked at myself as discriminating. So, what was the attraction – one may possibly say, compulsion that persists to the day? Over the past several years I have watched, faithfully, eight complete series, in historical and contemporary settings – each one 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 in many cases daytime soaps, Korean primetime television dramas – they will commonly call “miniseries” as the West already experienced a handy, otherwise altogether accurate term – can be a unique art. They can be structured like our miniseries in they may have a pre-ordained beginning, middle and end. While much longer than our miniseries – even episodes can be a whole hour long, not counting commercials, that are usually front loaded ahead of the episode begins – they do not continue on for five, six or seven seasons, like Alias or Star Trek: Voyager, or perhaps for generations, much like the Times of Our Everyday Lives. The closest thing we have to Korean dramas could very well be any season in 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 since the early 1990s if the government eased its censorship about content, which in turn got their creative juices going.
Korean dramas were jump-were only available in 1991 by the hugely successful Eyes of Dawn, set in between the Japanese invasion of WWII as well as the Korean War of the early 1950s. In 1995 the highly acclaimed series, The Sandglass, caused it to be clear for an audience beyond the country that Korea was certainly onto something. The Sandglass deftly and intelligently melded the realm of organized crime along with the ever-present love story versus the backdrop of the was then recent Korean political history, in particular the events of 1980 referred to as the Gwang-ju Democratization Movement and also the government’s crushing military response (think: Tienamin Square.) But 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 then the Mainland, where Korean dramas already had a modest, but loyal following.
Right about then, Tom Larsen, who had previously worked for YesAsia.com, started their own company in San Bruno, California: YA-Entertainment (to never be mistaken for YesAsia) to distribute the ideal Korean dramas with proper English subtitles in The United States. To this end, YAE (as Tom wants to call his company) secured the required licenses to accomplish just that with all the major Korean networks. I spent a couple of hours with Tom last week talking about our mutual interest. Larsen had first gone to Korea for just two years being a volunteer, then came returning to the States to finish 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 help you his students study Korean. An unexpected side effect was that he or she and his awesome schoolmates became hooked on the drama itself. Larsen has since made several trips to Korea for longer stays. I’ll return to how YAE works shortly, however I would like to try a minimum of to resolve the question: Why Korean Dramas?
Section of the answer, I believe, depends on the unique strengths of the shows: Purity, Sincerity, Passion. Possibly the hallmark of Korean dramas (and, to some degree, in lots of in their feature films) can be a relative purity of character. Each character’s psychology and motivation is clear, clean, archetypical. This is simply not to say they are not complex. Rather a character is not really made complicated arbitrarily. Psychological comprehension of the type, as expressed by his or her behavior, is – I judge – often more correctly manifest than we notice on American television series: Character complexity is far more convincing if the core self is just not interested in fulfilling the requirements this or that producer, sponsor or target age range or subculture.
Korea is a damaged and split country, as are many more whose borders are drawn by powers aside from themselves, invaded and colonized several times across the centuries. Koreans are, therefore, acutely understanding of questions of divided loyalties. Korean dramas often explore the conflict between your modern and the traditional – even in 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 is certainly something very reassuring about these dramas. . . not inside 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 could have faith in.
Possibly the most arresting feature from the acting will be the passion which is brought to performance. There’s a good price of heartfelt angst which, viewed out from context, can strike the unsuspecting Westerner as somewhat laughable. However in context, such expressions of emotion are powerful and interesting, strikinmg on the heart from the conflict. Korean actors and audiences, old or young, unlike our own, are immersed in 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 which is projected instantly, with no conventional distance we seem to require from the west.
Much like the 2017推薦韓劇 of your 1940s, the characters within a Korean drama use a directness with regards to their greed, their desires, their weaknesses, in addition to their righteousness, and so are fully focused on the results. It’s difficult to say in case the writing in Korean dramas has anything much like the bite and grit of a 40s or 50s American film (given our dependence on a translation, however well-intended) – I rather doubt it. Instead, especially in the historical series, the actors wear their emotional link with their character on their face as a kind of character mask. It’s one of the conventions of Korean drama which we will see clearly what another character cannot, though they can be “right there” – form of just like a stage whisper.
We have for ages been a supporter in 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 in to a passive observer. Also, the more detail, the more chance that I will happen by using an error that can take me out from the reality the art director has so carefully constructed (such as the 1979 penny that Chris Reeves finds in the pocket in Somewhere soon enough.) Graphic presentations with sensational story lines use a short-term objective: to maintain the viewer interested up 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 very few exceptions, only as long as they should be, then the series involves an end. It can 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 inside the U.S. K-dramas are not mini-series. Typically, they can be between 17-24 / 7-long episodes, though some have over 50 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 truly the case), are typically more skilled than American actors of any similar age. For it is the rule in Korea, rather than the exception, that high profile actors do both television and film. In these dramas, we Westerners have the main benefit of learning people distinct from ourselves, often remarkably attractive, that has an appeal within its own right.
Korean dramas have a resemblance to a different 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 can be used to enhance the emotional response or even to suggest characters. You will find a tidy structure or formula to melodrama: a villain poses a threat, the hero escapes the threat (or rescues the heroine) and you will find a happy ending. In melodrama there is certainly constructed a realm of heightened emotion, stock characters and a hero who rights the disturbance towards the balance of excellent and evil in a universe having a clear moral division.
With the exception of the “happy ending” part plus an infinite supply of trials both for hero and heroine – usually, the latter – this description isn’t thus far off of the mark. But moreover, the notion 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 uses music inside a comparatively casual way. A United States TV series could have a signature theme that may or may not – usually not – get worked to the score being a show goes along. Most of the music can there be to support the mood or provide additional energy towards the action sequences. Not too with Korean dramas – where music can be used similar to musical theatre, even opera. Certain themes represent specific characters or relationships between them. The music is deliberately and intensely passionate and might stand on its own. Nearly every series has one or more 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 background music for Winter Sonata, Seo Dong Yo, Palace and Jumong are common excellent examples.
The setting for any typical Korean drama might 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 created a small working village and palace for that filming, that has since turn into a popular tourist attraction. A series could possibly be one or a variety of familiar genres: romances, comedies, political or crime thrillers or historical dramas. Even though the settings are usually familiar, the traditions and, often, the costumes and make-up are often very distinctive from Western shows. Some customs may be fascinating, while some exasperating, in contemporary settings – as for example, in Winter Sonata, the way the female lead character, Yujin, is ostracized by friends and family once she balks on her engagement, a predicament that Korean audiences can actually connect with.
Korean TV dramas, like all 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 widely used to a quick pace. I suggest not suppressing the inevitable giggle out from some faux-respect, but understand that these items have the territory. My feeling: When you can appreciate Mozart, you should certainly appreciate the pace and conventionality of Dae Jang Geum. More recent adult dramas like Alone in Love advise that a few of these conventions might have already begun to play themselves out.
Episodes reach the YAE office in San Bruno on Digital Beta (a 1:1 copy in the master that had been employed for the exact broadcast) where it can be screened for possible imperfections (whereby, the network is asked to send another.) The Beta is downloaded in the lossless format to the pc plus a low-resolution copy is 25dexjpky on the translator. Translation is completed in stages: first a Korean-speaking individual that knows English, then the reverse. The top-resolution computer master will then be tweaked for contrast and color. Once the translation is finalized, it can be put into the master, taking good care to time the appearance of the subtitle with speech. Then a whole show is screened for even more improvements in picture and translation. A 2017推薦日劇 is constructed which has all of the menu instructions and completed picture and subtitles. The DLT is going to be shipped to factories in Korea or Hong Kong to the creation of the discs.
Whether or not the picture is formatted in 4:3 or 16:9, generally, the image quality is very good, sometimes exceptional; and the audio (music, dialogue and foley) is clear and dynamic, drawing the audience into the some time and place, the story and also the characters. For people who definitely have made the jump to light speed, we are able to plan to eventually new drama series in hd transfers from the not too distant future.