Monday, December 15, 2008

Winter Sonata

OK, I thought I was hooked on Korean movies before, but now that I've discovered Korean dramas I'm SERIOUSLY hooked!!

As I mentioned earlier, Shawn and I have started watching a Korean drama called Winter Sonata. It has 20 hour long episodes and basically it's just a 20 hour long movie. There's one plot and each episode picks up right where the last one left off. And it is GOOOOOOOD!!

The basic plot is that there is a group of high school kids who are friends and one day a new male student shows up, who is kind of brooding and mysterious. The main female character gets to know him, they fall in love and it's totally sweet. There is a bunch of other stuff going on with him in the meantime that the audience knows, but she doesn't, and when he finds out something shocking about his past he decides that he wants to leave Korea and move to the US with his mom. But on the way to tell the girl everything on his way out of the country he is hit by a car and killed. Or IS he??!

It picks up 10 years later and the girl has never really gotten over the guy, but she's now engaged to one of the other guys in her high school group, who was her best friend from childhood. She doesn't really love him, but he's her best friend and he really loves her, and everyone kind of expects them to get married.

But on the night of their engagement party, she sees someone walking down the street who looks just like the dead boyfriend from the past. She ends up meeting him, but he has a different name, says he's lived in the US his whole life and has no idea who she is. So is it a different person who looks just like the dead boyfriend, or did the dead boyfriend not really die?!

She's an interior designer and he is renovating a ski lodge and her design firm gets the contract for his ski lodge, so they end up working together and she's trying to figure out why he looks just like the old boyfriend, and she's second guessing her engagement to the other guy, and it all gets VERY complicated. Very, very complicated.

It's completely addicting, we were up until almost midnight last night watching it. We're 10 episodes into it, so we still have half of it to go!! I want to watch some of it really bad today, but I promised Shawn that I'd wait until he's home so we can watch it together. We're both totally engrossed in the story!!

Winter Sonata was a huge hit in Korea and then Japan caught on to it and it became a big deal there as well. It was the start of what they call the Korean Wave, which is when people from other countries started to realize how great Korean movies and dramas are and they started becoming popular all over the world.

The whole series takes place in the winter (hence the name) and through the first several episodes I kept commenting on all the huge turtleneck sweaters and big scarves that everyone was wearing. Then I was reading something online last night that said that show started a big turtleneck and scarf fad in Korea! Seriously, the wardrobe people must have bought out every turtleneck and scarf in the entire country for that show. If you played a drinking game and had a drink every time someone had on a different big turtleneck or big scarf you'd totally be drunk in the first 20 minutes.

So anyway, there's my pointless ramble about how good Winter Sonata is. It's beyond addicting! We're going to be up till midnight every night until it's finally over.

I've really enjoyed learning about Korean culture through the movies we've watched. Here's something that I love about Korean movies and I wonder if mainstream Korean culture is really like this. In all the amazingly romantic movies we've seen, no matter how close the couple is or how long they've been dating, you almost never see them kiss and there's never even a hint of anything else. I LOVE that fact, because I hate that American movies and television have gotten so raunchy, but I find it interesting. There was an episode in the show last night where the engaged couple have kind of a falling out and the guy refuses to take her home because he doesn't want her to leave him so he takes her to a hotel. Keep in mind they've been friends their entire lives, have been dating for a very long time and are now engaged. Up until then they hadn't shown them kiss and I got the impression that they never had. In the hotel room he gets upset that she's leaving and he grabs her, throws her on the bed and kisses her. That's all that happens, she gets really upset, leaves the room and that's it.

So a few episodes later there's a very dramatic scene and all their friends and family are there and the guy stands up and announces that he took his fiance to a hotel room (where nothing even happened) and the entire room gasps and his mom looks like she's going to have a heart attack and die. It was so funny to us that we totally burst out laughing, even though I'm sure it was supposed to be very dramatic.

Don't get me wrong, I totally applaud the fact that they seem to have such high morals, it's one of the things I love most about Korean movies. I love that the shows are so clean and sweet, I just find it surprising. I guess because you can't turn on an American television show anymore without seeing people hopping into bed together, I assume the whole world has become that way. It's one of the things I love most about Korean movies, but I wonder if it's really like that there. If so, I'm moving my family there tomorrow.

OK, so there's my long rambling review of how much I love Korean movies and how addicted I am to Winter Sonata. This blog has become less about adoption lately and much more about Korean movie reviews. I promise, tomorrow I will make an adoption related post. No more movie reviews for a while!


Jaci said...

Where do you find these online? I borrowed this series from a friend but it doesn't have subtitles. Winter Sonata was shot in ChunCheon, my son's town of birth. We visited there when we went to Korea to get him. There were so many Japanese tourists there just because of Winter Sonata.

Jaci said...

Oh yeah... I wanted to comment on your question about social intimacy. It really is like that in Korea. We had an exchange student last year and she was shocked by the teens kissing in the halls of high school. That would never happen there. She was 16 and still had never been kissed. It just isn't acceptable. PDA is rarely seen!!

On the flip side, American's act so prudish about their bodies and bodily functions. We would never go to a public bath and allow a stranger to scrub our back side like a man or woman in Korea would do. And when we toot or burp, it is embarrassing or gross. But it is not like that there.

Wendy said...

Thanks for sharing that, it's so interesting to me how different the culture is. I love hearing about it!

You can watch Winter Sonata here:

You have to watch it in pieces and it's a little bit of a pain, but it's such an addicting show that it's totally worth it!!

If you watch it let me know, I want to know what you think!:)