Author Topic: K-dramas (analyses of excellent cinematography of award-winning or hit dramas)  (Read 10919 times)

Gerry T. Galacio

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"Brilliant Legacy" aka "Shining Inheritance" (2009 blockbuster drama starring Han Hyo-joo, Lee Seung-gi, Moon Chae-won, and Bae Soo-bin)

Korean dramas (or simply K-dramas) have been a worldwide phenomenon since 2003 when "A Jewel in the Palace" aka "Dae Jang Geum" became a worldwide hit. Early last year, the blockbuster "Crash Landing On You" became the gateway drama for a new generation of K-drama watchers.

K-dramas are distinguished by their great writing and variety of genres and topics; several K-dramas, on the other hand, are distinguished by their excellent cinematography.

I oftentimes come across sweeping statements in websites and blogs about the quality of a drama's cinematography. For example, somebody who reviewed "Mr. Sunshine" gushed about its stunning cinematography; as proof, the reviewer posted two pictures of sunsets from the drama. Really? Numerous K-dramas have had scenes of stunning sunsets.

We will appreciate K-dramas more if we learn some things about cinematography. For example, the 2010 hit "Chuno, The Slave Hunters" was a groundbreaking drama because it was the first in Korea to use a digital camera (the revolutionary "Red One" 4K digital camera).

I'm a photographer, not a cinematographer. But to become a better photographer and writer, I read a lot and watch a lot of videos about cinematography. For example, I'm learning how a method in classical art and photography called "Dynamic Symmetry" can be used in cinematography.

Posted below are links to my "Campus Connection" blog where I have written spoiler-free synopses by episode of award-winning or hit K-dramas; in these synopses, I analyzed in detail the excellent cinematography of these dramas.

"Beyond Evil" (2021 psychological thriller; winner of "Best Drama" and "Best Screenplay" awards from the 57th Baeksang Arts Awards) at https://campusconnection.blogspot.com/2021/06/beyond-evil-synopsis.html

"Brilliant Legacy" aka "Shining Inheritance" (2009 blockbuster drama starring Han Hyo-joo, Lee Seung-gi, Moon Chae-won, and Bae Soo-bin; this drama is noted director Jin Hyuk's debut) at https://campusconnection.blogspot.com/2021/01/shining-inheritance-brilliant-legacy-synopsis.html

Example of arc shot and cross dissolve from "Brilliant Legacy":


"Encounter" (2018 hit drama starring Song Hye-kyo and Park Bo-gum; intro and outro animations by Korean artist Jamsan, who also did the artwork for "It's Okay Not To Be Okay") at https://campusconnection.blogspot.com/2020/09/encounter-synopsis.html

Example of the beautiful artworks/animations by Jamsan from "Encounter":


"Into The Ring" (2020 rom-com and political drama starring Nana; its use of wide angle lenses was probably inspired by the award-winning movie "The Favourite" directed by Yorgos Lanthimos) at https://campusconnection.blogspot.com/2021/05/into-the-ring-aka-memorials-synopsis.html

Example of wide angle shot from "Into The Ring":


"Kingdom" Seasons 1 and 2 (2019 hit zombie-historical dramas) at https://campusconnection.blogspot.com/2020/03/kingdom-season-1-and-season-2-synopsis.html

"Flower of Evil" (2020 hit psychological thriller starring Lee Joon-gi and Moon Chae-won; its director won "Best Director" award from the 57th Baeksang Arts Awards) at https://campusconnection.blogspot.com/2020/11/flower-of-evil-synopsis-by-episode.html

Example of cross cutting from "Flower of Evil":


"Mr. Sunshine" (2018 blockbuster hit; it won "Drama of the Year" award at the 6th APAN Star Awards) at https://campusconnection.blogspot.com/2018/07/mr-sunshine-synopsis.html

"Reply 1988" (2015 slice of life drama; it's the fourth highest rated drama in Korean cable television history; its cinematography was inspired by Wes Anderson) at https://campusconnection.blogspot.com/2021/03/reply-1988-synopsis.html

"Sisyphus: The Myth" (2021 sci-fi drama starring Cho Seung-woo and Park Shin-hye and directed by Jin Hyuk) at https://campusconnection.blogspot.com/2021/03/sisyphus-the-myth-synopsis.html

Example of arc shot and tracking shot from "Sisyphus: The Myth"


"Start-Up" (2020 drama starring Bae Suzy, Nam Joo-hyuk, Kim Seon-ho, and Kang Han-na) at https://campusconnection.blogspot.com/2020/11/start-up-synopsis-by-episode.html

Example from "Start-Up":


"Stranger" aka "Secret Forest" Season 1 (2017 crime drama/thriller starring Cho Seung-woo and Bae Doona; it was featured on New York Times list of Best TV Shows of 2017 and won the Grand Prize for Television at the Baeksang Arts Awards) at https://campusconnection.blogspot.com/2021/04/stranger-season-1-synopsis.html

Example of symbolic or meaningful use of doors in "Stranger" Season 1:


"The Tale of Nokdu" (2019 historical drama starring Jang Dong-yoon and Kim So-hyun) at https://campusconnection.blogspot.com/2020/03/the-tale-of-nokdu-synopsis.html

"True Beauty" (2020 hit rom-com starring Moon Ga-young, Cha Eun-woo, Hwang In-youp, and Park Yoo-na) at https://campusconnection.blogspot.com/2021/04/true-beauty-synopsis.html

Example of tracking shot from "True Beauty":


“When the Camellia Blooms" (2019 hit rom-com/thriller starring Gong Hyo-jin and Kang Ha-neul; it won awards for "Best TV Script" and "Grand Prize in TV" from the Baeksang Arts Awards) at https://campusconnection.blogspot.com/2020/03/when-the-camellia-blooms-synopsis.html

Examples of low angle shots that mark the cinematography of "When The Camellia Blooms":


Notes:

A. Link to spoiler-free free synopsis by episode of "Chuno, The Slave Hunters" (2011 historical drama starring Jang Hyuk and Lee Dae-hee): https://campusconnection.blogspot.com/2018/02/chuno-slave-hunters-synopsis-recaps.html

B. Song Hye-kyo (female lead star of “Encounter” and "Descendants of the Sun") has a standard clause in her contract that she can only be filmed with an Alexa camera, which is the top of the line camera for cinematographers.

Link to spoiler-free synopsis by episode of "Encounter":
https://campusconnection.blogspot.com/2020/09/encounter-synopsis.html

Link to spoiler-free synopsis by sets of episodes of "Descendants of the Sun": https://campusconnection.blogspot.com/2020/02/descendants-of-the-sun-synopsis.html

C. Link to spoiler-free synopsis by episode of the classic K-drama "A Jewel in the Palace": https://campusconnection.blogspot.com/2016/05/a-jewel-in-the-palace-dae-jang-geum-synopsis.html

D. Link to spoiler-free synopsis by episode of "Crash Landing On You" (with lots of historical and cultural backgrounders): https://campusconnection.blogspot.com/2020/03/crash-landing-on-you-synopsis-by-episode.html
« Last Edit: June 17, 2021, 11:17:21 AM by Gerry T. Galacio »