|Dear Mr Lee Si-Myeong,
Greetings from Singapore
Quotation From The Korean Press:
"Perhaps Lee learned his lesson after making "2009 Lost Memories", an ambitious sci-fi film featuring the superstar Jang Dong-gun, about Seoul being absorbed as part of Japan. The movie was a cinematic and box-office failure three years ago."
Title: "Parody sinks its teeth into cop movies"
By Park Soo-mee
Dated: 9 May 2006
Unquote. Initially, I was feeling uneasy and uncomfortable over this fictional fact of Seoul(the city)being part of Japan.
However after I had finished analysing this movie's content and skills of telling the story I'm deeply impressed by your talents, my sincere inner-thoughts as expressed in this email letter posted at the Message Board of "2009 Lost Memories" as well.
It's really not easy to use a serious and sensitive subject matter as a concept and tell it as a fiction in a balanced, neutral and forward looking manner.
Sincerely hope someone would volunteer to translate my thoughts to Korean language for your understanding.
Wishing you the very best in your future projects and thank you once again to you and the Korean Drama/Movie industry for enriching our lives as we currently seek to live a more balanced work/life lifestyle.
For example, I have heard of an increasing number of working adults in Singapore taking up piano lessons out of interest rather than for examination purpose probably due to the K-Drama "Winter Sonata" which shared with us the beauty of the piano as found in other K-Dramas as well.
Dear Mr Lee Si-Myeong & Team,
2009 Lost Memories - A Serious Fiction With A Hidden Political Message...Back To The Present (2006).....Creative Way of Learning History...Role of K-Dramas/K-Movies
Greetings from Singapore
Going by this K-movie title, initially I had thought that it's about a person who had lost his memory and only came to realize that the main storyline was actually about re-writing of History by a right-wing group in Japan after watching it to the end on our national TV network.
Based on viewing it once it's not enough to understand the whole story as the movie started off with the conclusion that history had already been re-written! To piece together the storyline in a logical manner for ease of understanding you have to do reverse engineering by watching it backward and forward.
In the end I went to buy the VCD version to watch it a few times: taking note of details such as objects, historical dates and intense facial expressions. To sum up it was an enriching experience for me like reading an electronic-literature book.
I'm very amazed and deeply impressed by this movie's creative way of sharing history in a relatively tactful and de-sensitized manner. Kudos to one and all members involved in this movie's production team!
Sincerely believe that the time has come for Asia led by South Korea, to tell our stories from Asian perspective at people's level as people are now connected and empowered by technology unthinkable of in the past(e.g. the internet, VCDs, DVDs, mobile phone etc). Technology has allowed the global community to connect,collaborate and co-operate to a large extent.
In the long run, K-Dramas/K-Movies would indirectly help us re-appreciate and reinforce our enduring Asian values in today's global village.
Also believe that "2009 Lost Memories" has the "All-In" formula for success for example:
1)Imaginative Script…. a bit of History (1909 Harbin, China)….ancient mystery (The Lunar Soul)...Futuristic (2009) Seoul being part of Japan...and back to Seoul per se (2009)and yet not forgetting the hidden political message to be conveyed via the movie's storyline
2)Swift, smooth and a relatively "non-provocative" shooting style.. .. Fast-paced and action packed with style and substance (hidden political message)
3)Creative and responsible storytelling process which showed quite a fair and balanced representation of views from both sides, the internal torments and dilemma faced at the friendship level and country level. Ultimately the compromised positions and decisions both sides had to make for the sake of their respective national interests as reflected implicitly on the facial expressions of the two lead actors.
4) Talented acting skills by all cast members...intense, highly-charged yet controlled bottled emotions cum focused silent acting skills where less is more. The ability of the cast team to sink deeply into the characters they play is so impressive and moving that for audience like me, I sink even deeper.
5)Great screen chemistry....charismatic actors/actresses cum great shooting techniques (revolving camera, close-up shots, helicopter view down and bottom up, from outside in to inside out shooting style packaged with moving background music to enhance the mood all of which added together seem to behold your attention forever !!!
Back To The Present (2006)
Personally I have always been amazed by Japan's ability to modernize without having to learn English. Japan's ability to rise to become an economic powerhouse like Germany has had attracted a number of outsiders to learn from the Japanese experience back in the 1980s......
With due respect, amidst the current immersed popularity of K-Dramas/K-Movies beyond race, language and religion, perhaps one way we could help Japanese people to come to terms with their past is via K productions with historical themes.
For example, MBC Drama Series entitled "War & Romance" to mark the 55th Anniversary of the end of the war with cast including Mr Ahn Jae-Wook and Ms Choi Ji-Woo as teenaged stars and K-Movie "Brotherhood of War" starred Mr Jang Dong-Gun and Mr Won Bin.
Another impressive piece of drama with the Cold War as the background setting is the "White Night 3.98" starred Mr Lee Byeong- Heon. A more current title is SBS Very Special two part K- Drama "Hanoi Bride" filmed to mark the 30th Anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War.
Actually it was through K-Drama "War and Romance" that I discovered (if I'm not mistaken) the meaning of a famous and moving Korean song we used to hear when we were young. Now I know that this song is about being drifted from place to place and not knowing where one is heading to and when homecoming would be.
As for the movie "Brotherhood of War" (Taegukgi)there's one line which had truly caught my attention and provoked our thoughts further was that at the people's level "we do not understand what the political thoughts are all about,what prompted us to pen on the papers was mainly because of hunger."
Perhaps by watching historical dramas could help broaden Japanese mindset and thinking to see beyond Japanese interest, interpretation and conformity and to get to know more about other cultures given the fact that Japan as a country is physically isolated with a language barrier to connect to the world and the apparent lack of political will to reform her "ancient" political system in part due to the divine status of the Emperor unlike Germany, with due respect.
If you were to visit Hiroshima War Museum, it is regrettable to say that the focus is one-sided stressing on the sufferings of her own people as if they were the only victims.
Another foreigner I came to know of based in Tokyo commented that the country has many memorial and anniversary celebrations which appears to imply that the people's mindsets are more back-to-the past politically and the apparent difficulty of promoting change in a group-based society also add up to the lack of urgency/initiative to reform her political system since Japan can afford to set her own rules without compromising her economic status.
It is interesting to note that foreigners based in Japan are more "Japanised" than Japanese people being more internationalized in their thinking!
Last autumn in Central Japan, I had the chance to renew friendship with a Japanese senior citizen whom I came to know since 1988 and he expressed his personal concern on Japanese people's (especially the younger generation) difficulty in having a more realistic picture of the world outside Japan.
Creative Way of Learning History
Perhaps, perhaps K-Drama/K-Movie is now one of the answers to his concern as meaningful social education tools in the light of the current Korean Wave. In the words of a top Chinese leader K-Drama "Jewel in the Palace" has indirectly helped the Chinese people to "recover their lost dreams" and inspired them to move forward to build a better tomorrow.
Fortune rotates....I sincerely believe that we should not be living in the past but by learning History in the right spirit that is drawing common lessons learnt from History from a human perspective would probably enable different civilizations to build a better future together and work towards a more sincere, trustworthy, comfortable and forward-looking international relations between Japan and her neighboring countries.
At the end of the day, I think the change must come from the Japanese people themselves wanting to change and it starts from the political level as life is actually about political correctness,meaning what is considered as "right" varies from time to time, era to era and changing political systems and leadership.
Role of K-Dramas/K-Movies
At the personal level, I'm truly grateful to K-Productions which have indeed enriched my life with their inspirational scripts and imparting the audience with life skills/good old values and train us to think, analyze and to be observant.
Although reality is different from the drama world whereby such pure drama characters are difficult to find, I sincerely believe their impact is still positive and inspire the audience to work towards building a less imperfect human relationship via the usual focus on the human character development process and detailed coverage on their inner world feelings found in most of the drama scripts.
I feel such themes are timely reminder to us as a society progresses and becomes more IT- driven, we need to seek a balance between our emotional and material needs although in the real world such storylines/characters are hard to come by.
K-drama characters also seemingly have a lasting impression in the hearts of the audience to become conversation topics that K-artistes have also become stars other stars talk about!
At the industry level, I think K-Productions have set the industry standards in acting and making dramas/movies. It's really an eye-opener for me to appreciate such works as a piece of drama art and the visual treat of the beauty of 4 seasons being captured is so refreshing and breathtaking, not forgetting the moving background music and songs which really make you feel like you are attending a concert!
At the global level, if K-Productions could continue to have scripts with history as the background setting, I would truly believe that such productions could possibly create the following impact indirectly:
i) Sharing and teaching younger generation of Japanese people and Japanese of Korean descent a better sense of History
ii) Enabling younger generation of American Koreans to re-discover their cultural identity and roots
iii) Teaching younger generation in Asia about history so that they can better relate and connect to the meaning and significance of memorial services conducted to mark the end of the war in their respective countries
iv) Helping China indirectly in her "perpetual" efforts and calls to Japan to teach History in the right context.
v)Last but not the least, right at the door step, as a fan outside Korea, my wish and belief that K-Dramas/K-Movies may one day be the ultimate "hidden diplomatic tool" to help reunite Korea back to one country again.
Thank you very much for your kind attention and time.
With best regards,
Wee Fong-Fong (Miss)
25 May - 8 June 2006