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Han Hye-jin's Song Picks

2010/01/18 | 3624 views | Permalink | Source

She created a friendly image for herself, playing an energetic, curly-haired young woman in a daily family drama. She then took on the female lead role in a traditional drama, which scored a 50 percent viewership rating. She also experienced failure after appearing in a trendy drama about a professional working woman, which saw low ratings. This is who actress Han Hye-jin is. During a career which could hardly be described as a long one, there are also probably not that many actors who have played such various roles and received such a variety of responses from viewers as Han has. But what makes her so interesting is not just that she has appeared in not-so-easy-to-define dramas in the past. What is important is that she, who has appeared and worked and gone through many experiences, is still working, in the present tense. After SBS drama "Terroir" ended, she took on the role of an intelligent female detective in the film "No Mercy", which recently opened in theaters, and is currently traveling throughout the country to shoot SBS TV series "Jejoongwon". What is even more important is that she who wants to keep working and working.

"While doing "Jumong", I saw a lot of media people on the set for about a year and I took it for granted. But it wasn't like that when I was working on "Terroir". (laugh) When I'm working, it's very hard for me to enjoy the process because I'm physically exhausted and I feel pressured to do a good job with my character. It's only afterwards that I think, 'It was such an incredibly happy time for me, why couldn't I enjoy it more?'". This actress, in fact, is not a workaholic -- when she is not working she loves to listen to music by herself, go on very long walks and think random thoughts. Even so, the reason such breaks are not idly spent time is because she always follows them up with more acting. For her, a break is time she takes to rest before making a more dynamic move. That is why we asked her to recommend music that is good for listening during breaks and the following is a list of songs that have touched Han Hye-jin's heart.

1. "Cinema Paradiso OST"

There are times when you don't get much inspiration from the music because it's so familiar and you can easily hum along to it, yet suddenly, the music reveals its hidden appeal. For Han Hye-jin, it happened with the soundtrack for the film "Cinema Paradiso". "I had been familiar with the soundtrack since my school days but it wasn't until I heard it at Ennio Morricone's concert in Korea that I fell in love with it. When I heard the music fill up and echo throughout the concert venue, I trembled because the music moved me in a way different from when I had watched the movie or listened to the CD. That's when I realized why they call Ennio Morricone the master of film music. There is no better way to express how Toto feels than through his music". Most people think of the ending song "Love Theme" and the "Childhood And Manhood", which plays during Toto's early years, when it comes to the film, but it can be said that the music that best expresses the aura of the whole film is none other than "Cinema Paradiso".

2. "Restless Nights" by Karla Bonoff

In Marcel Proust's "In Search of Lost Time", there is a scene where the main character tries to remember the past by tasting Madeleine. Music sometimes serves as such a memory tool and Karla Bonoff's "The Water is Wide" reminds Han Hye-jin of her experience in Laos, which she visited to shoot a television segment about starving children. "It broke my heart to see such innocent people and animals living in this beautiful place which was still scarred by the Vietnam War. But the kids there looked so pure. It was while I was visiting that place that I first heard 'The Water Is Wide' and, to this day when I hear this song, I think of the little boy who used his bare hands to row a boat which was made out of a cannon and took me to the village across the river". It does not seem hard to think of a river in Laos where the evening sunset glows while listening to the acoustic guitar and Karla Bonoff's vocals in this lyrical song.

3. "Dance With The Wind OST"

Han Hye-jin recommended many movie soundtrack songs, saying that she has those 'Ah-ha!' experiences when she is looking at landscapes or images and hears music that perfectly fits what she is looking at. Of course, they are not the kind of music that "Cinema Paradiso" was for the film -- most songs are just tracks that were featured in the movie. But even those songs have a similar effect when the music comes together with the film's images. That is why Han Hye-jin is reminded of the Korean film "Legend of the Film" when she hears Matt Monroe's old pop song "What To Do". "I had so much fun watching that movie because the movie dealt with social dancing, which was never covered in a Korean movie before, in a comic and serious way. There were many really beautiful scenes too because the movie focused a lot on the dances. I was very disappointed that it wasn't a commercial success but it's a great movie to watch with a loved one on a snowy day. It's that romantic. The instrumental accompaniment to the song "What To Do" is incredibly romantic and goes so well with the mood of the film".

4. "The Sounds Of Silence" by Simon and Garfunkel

Han Hye-jin recommends songs that most people would already know. What is interesting about her recommendations is the reason she started liking those songs. Most people remember "The Sounds of Silence" by Simon & Garfunkel as a song from their regular album or from oldies compilation albums, or perhaps as a song featured in the movie "The Graduate". But Han fell in love with this old pop song while watching the 2009 film "The Watchmen". "I think music really digs into my heart when it's played with impressive images. This song plays during the scene when Rorschach, one of the film's heroes, stands at a cemetery in the rain and I loved it because the title "The Sounds of Silence" really expresses the dark perspective of the film".

5. "A Walk To Remember OST"

"I watched this movie several times because I loved the innocent story of the film. My favorite scene is when Mandy Moore, who plays the female lead, sings the song "Only Hope" with the piano accompaniment. She won over both me and the male lead with her sincerity". The biggest reason "Walk To Remember" received so much attention was because it was the first movie project for Mandy Moore, a platinum-selling recording artist who had debuted in her teens. Critics didn't think highly of this film -- which told about the blossoming romance between an innocent girl from a devout Christian family and a party boy -- but Moore's songs make up for the disappointing aspects of the film. In particular, the song "Only Hope" -- which features Moore's pure voice and acoustic piano instrumentals -- serves as a tool for lighting Jamie's heart.

"If "Terroir" had been successful, I would have probably taken about a year off because my agency and I would have been very careful in choosing my next project". Despite the show's low ratings, which could not have been easy on the actress who played the main character, the failure of "Terroir" actually worked out for the better. Thanks to the film flopping on the domestic box office, Han became interested in getting as many opportunities as possible, whether they be low-budget films or theater gigs. She was able to take on the challenge of playing a female detective in the film "No Mercy", a risky role which is perhaps more stereotyped than a male detective. "I had this ambition to build years of experience as an actor and not be swayed over how one film does on the box office". That is why the evaluation criteria for actress Han Hye-jin is not the ups-and-downs she has recorded in the past but the endless possibilities that she will open in the future. She will keep working and working after "No Mercy" and "Jejoongwon" and maybe someday we will run into the actor Han Hye-jin, who has grown out of her old characters Keum-soon and So Seo-no.

Reporter : Wee Geun-woo
Editor : Lynn Kim
<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

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