It absolutely was around three yrs ago i was introduced to the concept of region-free DVD playback, a virtually necessary condition for readers of DVD Beaver. Because of this, an entire arena of Asian film that was heretofore unknown if you ask me or from my reach opened. I had already absorbed decades of Kurosawa and, recently, a smattering of classic Hong Kong gangster and fantasy films through 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 was immersed in beautiful DVD editions of Oldboy, Peppermint Candy, Memories of Murder, Sisily 2Km, Taegukgi, Into the Mirror, Oasis and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance – with lots more following close on his or her heels. This is a new realm of cutting edge cinema if you ask me.
Several months into this adventure, a buddy lent us a copy in the first disc of your Korean television series, 韓劇dvd. He claimed 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 by then, but the idea of a tv series, let alone one manufactured for Korean mainstream TV, was hardly something 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 all of that hooked on American TV. West Wing, Sopranos, Buffy – sure. Maybe I had pan-tastes, having said that i still looked at myself as discriminating. So, what was the attraction – one might even say, compulsion that persists to the day? Over the past few years I actually have watched, faithfully, eight complete series, in historical and contemporary settings – every one averaging 20 hours – and I’m halfway into Jumong, which can be over 80 hour long episodes! What exactly is my problem!
Though there are actually obvious similarities to Western primetime dramas, cable and also daytime soaps, Korean primetime television dramas – that they can commonly call “miniseries” since the West already possessed a handy, if not altogether accurate term – can be a unique art form. They are structured like our miniseries in they may have a pre-ordained beginning, middle and end. While for a longer time than our miniseries – even the episodes certainly are a whole hour long, not counting commercials, which are usually front loaded before the episode begins – they are doing not continue on for five, six or seven seasons, like Alias or Star Trek: Voyager, or generations, much like the Days of Our Lives. The nearest thing we need to Korean dramas is perhaps any 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 through the years, especially considering that the early 1990s when the government eased its censorship about content, which actually got their creative juices going.
Korean dramas were jump-started 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 get clear for an audience outside the country that Korea was certainly onto something. The Sandglass deftly and intelligently melded the field of organized crime as well as the ever-present love story against the backdrop of the was then recent Korean political history, in particular the events of 1980 called the Gwang-ju Democratization Movement along with the government’s crushing military response (think: Tienamin Square.) But it really wasn’t until 2002, with Yoon Suk-Ho’s Winter Sonata, that whatever 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 had 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 not be wrongly identified as YesAsia) to distribute the most effective Korean dramas with proper English subtitles in America. To the end, YAE (as Tom enjoys to call his company) secured the required licenses to accomplish simply that with each of the major Korean networks. I spent several hours with Tom a week ago talking about our mutual interest. Larsen had first gone to Korea for just two years like a volunteer, then came back to the States in order 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 side-effect was that he or she with his fantastic schoolmates became totally hooked on the drama itself. Larsen has since made several trips to Korea for prolonged stays. I’ll get back to how YAE works shortly, however I wish to try no less than to resolve the question: Why Korean Dramas?
Area of the answer, I think, depends on the unique strengths of the shows: Purity, Sincerity, Passion. Perhaps the hallmark of Korean dramas (and, to some degree, in numerous of the feature films) can be a relative purity of character. Each character’s psychology and motivation is obvious, clean, archetypical. This is simply not to state they are not complex. Rather a character is not really made complicated arbitrarily. Psychological insight into the type, as expressed by his / her behavior, is – I judge – often more correctly manifest than what we see on American television series: Character complexity is far more convincing if the core self will not be worried about fulfilling the requirements of this or that producer, sponsor or target age range or subculture.
Korea is really a damaged and split country, as are many more whose borders are drawn by powers other than themselves, invaded and colonized several times over the centuries. Koreans are, therefore, acutely understanding of questions of divided loyalties. Korean dramas often explore the conflict between the modern as well as the traditional – even during the historical series. Conflicts of obligations are usually the prime motivation and concentrate to the dramatic narrative, often expressed in generational terms in the family. There is certainly something very reassuring about these dramas. . . not from the 1950s happy ending sense, for indeed, you will find few happy endings in Korean dramas. When compared with American television shows: Korean TV dramas have simpler, yet compelling story lines, and natural, sympathetic acting of characters we are able to rely on.
Probably the most arresting feature from the acting may be the passion which is taken to performance. There’s a good price of heartfelt angst which, viewed out of context, can strike the unsuspecting Westerner as somewhat laughable. But also in context, such expressions of emotion are powerful and engaging, strikinmg for the heart from the conflict. Korean actors and audiences, young or old, unlike our, 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 level of truth which is projected instantly, minus the conventional distance we often require within the west.
Much like the 韓劇dvd of your 1940s, the characters in a Korean drama use a directness with regards to their greed, their desires, their weaknesses, as well as their righteousness, and so are fully devoted to the results. It’s challenging to say if the writing in Korean dramas has anything much like 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, particularly in the historical series, the actors wear their emotional connection to their character on the face as a sort of character mask. It’s among the conventions of Korean drama we will see clearly what another character cannot, though they can be “right there” – sort of like a stage whisper.
We have always been a supporter in 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 make an otherwise involved participant into a passive observer. Also, the greater number of detail, the better chance i will happen upon an error which takes me out of your reality that this art director has so carefully constructed (just like the 1979 penny that Chris Reeves finds in their pocket in Somewhere over time.) Graphic presentations with sensational story lines have a short-term objective: to help keep the viewer interested till the next commercial. There is not any long term objective.
A big plus is that the story lines of Korean dramas are, with only a few exceptions, only if they have to be, then the series goes to a conclusion. It will not persist with contrived excuses to re-invent its characters. Nor is the duration of a series dependant on the “television season” because it is within the United states K-dramas will not be mini-series. Typically, they may be between 17-24 / 7-long episodes, though some have over 50 episodes (e.g. Emperor in the Sea, Dae Jang Geum, and Jumong).
Korean actors are relatively unknown to American audiences. They can be disarming, engaging and, despite their youth or pop status in Korea (as is truly 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, that has an appeal in their 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 coming from the Greek word for song “melody”, coupled with “drama”. Music can be used to enhance the emotional response or even 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 is a happy ending. In melodrama there may be constructed a world of heightened emotion, stock characters as well as a hero who rights the disturbance towards the balance of proper and evil inside a universe using a clear moral division.
Except for the “happy ending” part along with an infinite availability of trials both for hero and heroine – usually, the second – this description isn’t thus far off of the mark. But most importantly, the concept of the melodrama underscores another essential difference between Korean and Western drama, and that is certainly the role of music. Western television shows and, to some great extent, present day cinema uses music in the 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. Many of the music will there be to back up the atmosphere or provide additional energy towards the action sequences. Not with Korean dramas – the location where the music is commonly used more like musical theatre, even opera. Certain themes represent specific characters or relationships between the two. The background music is deliberately and intensely passionate and may stand naturally. Virtually every series has a minumum 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 background music for Winter Sonata, Seo Dong Yo, Palace and Jumong are common excellent examples.
The setting for a typical Korean drama could possibly be almost anyplace: home, office, or outdoors which have the advantage of familiar and less known locations. The producers of Dae Jang Geum created a small working village and palace for that filming, which contains since turn into a popular tourist attraction. A series could be one or a mixture of familiar genres: romances, comedies, political or crime thrillers or historical dramas. Whilst the settings are usually familiar, the traditions and, often, the costumes and make-up are often very not the same as Western shows. Some customs may be fascinating, while some exasperating, even just in contemporary settings – regarding example, in the wintertime Sonata, just how the female lead character, Yujin, is ostracized by friends and family once she balks on her engagement, a predicament that Korean audiences can definitely correspond with.
Korean TV dramas, like every other art form, their very own share of conventions: chance meetings, instant flashback replays, highly fantasized love stories, chance meetings, character masks, chance meetings, which all can seem to be like unnecessary time-stoppers to Americans who are employed to a quick pace. I would suggest not suppressing the inevitable giggle away from some faux-respect, but recognize that these things include the territory. My feeling: Whenever you can appreciate Mozart, you will be able to appreciate the pace and conventionality of Dae Jang Geum. More recent adult dramas like Alone in Love suggest that a few of these conventions might have already begun to play themselves out.
Episodes arrive at the YAE office in San Bruno on Digital Beta (a 1:1 copy in the master which had been used for the specific broadcast) where it is screened for possible imperfections (whereby, the network is motivated to send another.) The Beta is downloaded inside a lossless format to the pc along with a low-resolution copy is 25dexjpky for the translator. Translation is performed in stages: first a Korean-speaking individual who knows English, then this reverse. Our prime-resolution computer master is going to be tweaked for contrast and color. When the translation is finalized, it can be applied for the master, being careful to time the appearance of the subtitle with speech. Then a whole show is screened for additional improvements in picture and translation. A 2017推薦日劇 is constructed which includes all of the menu instructions and completed picture and subtitles. The DLT will be brought to factories in Korea or Hong Kong to the production of the discs.
Regardless of if the picture is formatted in 4:3 or 16:9, in most cases, the graphic quality is superb, sometimes exceptional; and the audio (music, dialogue and foley) is clear and dynamic, drawing the crowd to the efforts and place, the storyline and also the characters. For people who may have made the jump to light speed, we can be prepared to eventually new drama series in high definition transfers in the not too distant future.