Tag: writing

Of Secrets and Love Affairs

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Image: Akiatalking.com

I like to watch some shows over and over again, gleaning from another  angle each time, paying more attention to one character or another, or revisiting questions I had before.  And I like sexy shows.  One might not immediately think of Korean TV as sexy as compared with American TV, but it is, especially in its quality of withholding.

An obvious example is Secret Love Affair, which has one of those titles I’m embarrassed by – just so cliche’.  Yet, it’s a beautiful drama, touching deep questions about what is important in a life and how people change over time, choosing different things.

Also, piano.  Piano runs through the drama as also metaphor for passion, as it has in various films in the past, films that are no longer really made.  The very reason I was drawn to Korean TV was nostalgia for a kind of film that seems no longer of interest in America; high quality romantic films like Notting Hill, or conflicted, sexy films like The English Patient.

Also, Yoo Ah In is the most complex actor I’ve encountered in a very long while.

I searched for a clip of an award acceptance speech for a Six Flying Dragons, but couldn’t find the one I was looking for, in which he played emotions across his face, unapologetically exuding an instrument many actors seem hesitant to show, or can’t.  So in that sense, he fits especially well the character in this drama, who is a hardly-contained and naturally gifted Artist.

I have friends who cannot stand ‘adultery dramas’ – who boil them down (imo) too far, and I respect those friends.  However, perhaps because I’ve lived so much of my life as an observer of sublimated happenings, picking up on dynamics people try not to show, I’m especially drawn to them.

She seemed restless.

In the summer of …

the whole of London was restless

in the face of the coming storm.

(lines from The End of the Affair screenplay)

lonely goblin

I picked up Lonely Shining Goblin and Legend of the Deep Blue Sea at the same time, but only Goblin felt truly inventive.  It was brooding and patient (occasionally too much so), and Lee Dong Wook’s grim reaper was reminiscent of another drama I liked, although it didn’t quite reach its potential, Blade Man.

For me, the best thing about this drama is the mood.

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SPOILERS AHEAD

Highlighting Lee Dong Wook as an actor isn’t to imply that it wasn’t great to spend time with Gong Yoo on the small screen again, but as much as I hate to say so, Gong Yoo’s gravitas may have overgrown the TV medium.   Although he did well embody the longing one might expect from a goblin who had brooded for 500 years, reflecting on tragedy and injustice, suffering without intimacies.

Yet having seen him in films like A Man and a Woman, I couldn’t shake the feeling that a mature partner for him would have been more appealing.

Kim Go-Eun did move my heart in scenes, even out-shining her more seasoned costars.  Especially, her capacity for anguish was startling for one so young.  But the ultra light-and-girly way her character was written didn’t allow for deep enough chemistry between the two.  By contrast, her Cheese in the Trap character held to a grounded center.  I much preferred her there.

Overall, I was pleased with facets of time and memory, overlap and questioning of identities, virtue and vice, even though some connections weren’t quite made.  Long episodes were appropriate, fitting to the desired epic scale.

Or Not…

What unfortunately strange direction and editing choices for Moon Lovers, Scarlet Heart Ryeo.

After seeming to know exactly what makes for the best experience and  heart-moving story, the close ups and sloppy flashbacks this week were hard to bear. Kang Ha Neul is a beautiful person, but I don’t need to be in his nostrils.

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I still like the story… still like the actors. A lot. They just should have kept that good story long, and less compromised, chopped into fewer bits. “Maybe the director doesn’t know what to do with bodies” said my son, who had tried to watch with me a second time. It took him ten minutes in to mention how overdone the close-ups are, and how almost wonderful it all is.

There are fantastic commentaries on a few sites, that go into what a strongly written female story this is at its core, in spite of early attention paid to the group of princes. I still look forward to it all week, but wow can’t we have at least a few more Episode 11s??