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23 8월, 2007

Let's Play!

Okay, over @ one of my favourite blogs, there was a bit of a conversation about intimacy as portrayed in Korean Dramas. At the moment Coffee Prince has to be hands down one of the best television shows I have seen this year (more about that later). I decided to post one of my comments here, cos I for once was quite lucid and actually made sense.
I'm a bit more ambivalent on the idea of the portrayal of sexuality and sex in K dramas. One the one hand it is refreshing to watch relationship develop through what my philosophy and film professor called "play". In a nutshell in older movies of the 40's and 50's we saw romance develop through banter, wordplay, non-sexual physical interaction with one another. Couples who played well together tended to have more meaningful interaction. The Big Sleep (1946) with Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart is a great example, as is Indiscreet (1958) with Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman.
One of the things I love about K dramas is that there is a real sense that the protagonists really get to discover before the start of all the heart (and fist!) clenching angst. The couples tend to be like dogs sniping @ each others heels and the women tend to be the aggressors (which is another topic all together). It's fun, it's charming and it hearkens to an ideal that intimacy is not just "knockin' boots" with someone you think is hot. In Coffee Prince we sense that Yu Ju and Han Sung play well and their problems stem from not knowing themselves well enough to trust the other.
The portrayal of intimacy in dramas though seems overwhelmingly stilted and forced. Usually a lot is played as broad comedy, or even in serious moments we get an unnatural physical distance in a hug or kiss and you can almost see the actors step out of character and start to think of what they are meant to be portraying. Even my beloved Coffee Prince is guilty, resorting to the hike-and-slam-into-wall hollwood portrayal of intense passion didn't quite jibe with the the rest of the series. In a perfect world, the romance would retain the fun and lose the stiffness...

Video: Coffee Prince, final scene ep 16

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