Saturday, August 8, 2009

Not your usual period piece

I must admit that I prefer Korean movies over Korean television. I like some Korean dramas, and there are a few I have been meaning to sit down and watch, especially since they are actually well talked-about programs among people I know in Hawaii, and by no means just among Koreans or kyopo

While I used to watch a lot of Korean TV, I got out of the habit when my fiancée and I broke up (earlier this decade), since watching Korean-language television and occasionally griping about or making fun of this or that was a favorite pastime we had. Not only did I find myself, post-breakup, less often in front of the television, it just wasn't as fun anymore. I switched to movies. 

But I may actually try to watch "Tamra" (which I think should be Romanized as Tamna), about a 17th-century haenyŏ (female Korean diver, typically from Chejudo) who encounters a shipwrecked Englishman

Yeah, that blond-haired person above is a man, French model Pierre Deporte. The young woman is 21-year-old Seo Woo (서우/瑞雨), apparently also known as Chang Pŏjin (Jang Beojin/장버진). Bucking the supposed tendency of the Korean media to eschew positive images of Korean women with foreign men* despite a recent abundance of images of Korean men getting busy with foreign women, this drama piece is depicting a love triangle involving the two above. Also going against the grain, there's no palace intrigue or anything like that. 

For a variety of reasons, then, besides the aesthetic purposes of watching Ms Seo parade around in her haenyŏ outfit, this is something I might want to catch when it comes to the Aloha State. [UPDATE: In response to a post on this at The Grand Narrative, I have posted some more thoughts here.]

* Didn't Austria-born naturalized Korea citizen and tourism chief Lee Cham get his start in media back in the 1990s by portraying the foreign neighbor in a miniseries with whom one of the main characters falls in love? I guess I imagined that. 

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