Sunday, 8 February 2009

Snow Queen - 눈의 여왕

If The Road was the book that defined the tone of 2009 for me, then Snow Queen is likely to be the K-drama equivalent.


I finished watching it yesterday, was compelled to get the theme songs and also woke up this morning with scenes from the show running through my mind.

I can't identify what exactly affected me so much. It might be the combination of the story, cinematography, scenery, music and lead actors.

In summary, this k-drama is focussed around the lead character Han Yae Woong (acted by Hyun Bin). He is a math prodigy who lost his best friend when he was 17, in high school. Although it wasn't his fault, he felt guilty for his friend's death and ran away. Dropping out from school he spent 8 years hiding from his true identity and talents, living his life as a boxer under the name of Han Duek Ku (his best friend's boxing idol). As things unfold, he finds his true love (Kim Bo Ra, acted by Sung Yu Ri), true talents and path in life.

I shall stop trying to do a synopsis here, because like all k-drama, the storyline is kind of convoluted and what I intended to do in this post is to write about my feelings on the show.

The drama is quite slow and actually lacks many of the dramatic and sometimes unrealistic plot devices that pepper k-dramas. In fact, sometimes, I think it was only Hyun Bin's and Sung Yu Ri's pretty faces that compelled me to keep watching. They are both very expressive and beautiful to watch. While they are not passionate, the love that develops is something beautiful.

This drama seems to focus on the innocent and pure love (all the time they were together, they didn't even sleep in the same room until the end - and even then they were fully clothed, not doing anything other than sleep). The couple also only shared 3 kisses (no open mouths, no tongues either) through out the entire show.

So, what was it besides the lead actors that struck me about this show? I think it must be the ending.

I seldom like the endings in k-dramas. Many times they are very dissatisfying. This show however, ended on a beautiful and poignant note. Even though it was a hard and painful ending, I loved the thread of harsh and sad beauty.

OMG, as I'm writing this, I think I know what it is that makes this show different. It's got this note of mono no aware (物の哀れ)!!! Very bittersweet. I think that's it!

The line that says it all, are the words that Han Tae Woong said to Bo Ra. It goes something like this, "Keep your eyes open, no matter how hard it is, no matter how painful it gets, it's good to be alive, to struggle and to continue on ..."

Those were words that he used to discourage Bo Ra from suicide and the same words that she left in a message for him at the end.

The show also revealed to me how cold the Korean winter can be ... there were many scenes in the open air or in a large room (such as the open gym) where huge puffs of smoke came out of their mouths when they breathed or spoke!

I leave you with Hyun Bin's beautiful profile (I made a screen cap from the show).


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1 comment:

Amy said...

I would love to watch more K-drama! Never enough time to do all I want!