Korea’s screen productions have been very popular among Asian countries in the past few years, and it caught the world’s attention by winning at international film festivals in recent years. The film making policy is one of the major reasons for the rapid development of Korean screen. Since the first time South Korea launched their film protection policy in 1970, it has been 35 years that Korean movie theaters are required to screen Korean movies for at least 146 days each year. Thanks to the strong political support from the government and financial support from local companies, ┬áthe film market began to develop dramatically and became a main force in the world’s cinema market. In the year of 2006, under the pressure from Hollywood filmmakers, the president of Korea announced that the days for local films sits in theater should be reduced to 73 days. After the regulation launched, thousands of residents and movie stars protest against this policy. It is reported that some protesters carried a coffin representing the death of Korean cinema. The actor Lee Joon-ki of King and the Clown as the representative of the filmmakers spoke to the president directly.

Record year

Korea’s cinema has been enjoying an unprecedented booming domestically and on the international stage. Its films took a record 49.5% share of the local market last year. Exports more than doubled, and record amounts of money were poured into the industry. Musa (The Warrior), made in 2001, broke all records in terms of cost, production and challenges of shooting.

The number of foreign films screened fell to 355 last year, from 427 in 2000, according to data from the state-run film watchdog, the Korea Media Rating Board.

Western known V.S. Asian Known

Korean directors such as Kim Ki-duk are well known by western people, but most of the directors, stars are well known by local people and Asian people. In fact, S.Korean TV shows( drama) has been popular among Asian countries for many years. From my experience, I summary some highlights of Korean dramas as following:

Contemporary Korean TV shows(drama)

Highlights of Korean dramas:

Music

Colour

Story (tears/laughs)

Duration (45min per episode,16-24episodes)

Strong cultural background (domestic & international)

Generally speaking, Korean screen producers try very hard to make the show perfect, from the scripts to the music, lighting, casts, and costuming. They focus on every single detail to make the show ‘in-style’. Basically, I divide Korean shows into ‘tears’ style and ‘laughs’ style. As I said, before I started to watch Korean shows, I never thought a drama show can torture your heart like that, and no one( audience) can escape or survive from the trap of sadness which is set by the director. On the other hand, some shows based on comics are quite funny, always tell a love story, so most of them are comedy romance, or some shows which last for almost 8/10 seasons like American shows always tell a family story based on Korean people’s daily life. Music in the shows always mix pop music with Korean traditional folk music(strings,bronze…), or just the melodies match the comics background, and sometimes they use foreign songs to add a little different taste. If you think S.Korean shows are like American shows that shot in a certain area, you would be wrong. Some Korean shows are shoot within Korea, but the places must be the most beautiful ones like sea shores, famous travel spots, and the big house of big cities, of course, the ‘tears’ stories would be in poor living areas (but the show makers still can make that place look lovely). Personally, I think making the shootings in fair-view places is a good way to develop tourism marketing. Moreover, some shows usually are some parts of the shows are shoot overseas, this is absolutely is a tendency, as far as I known( the dramas that I’ve watched), the oversea countries cover Melbourne, Sydney/Australia,France, China, Thailand, Macao, Bali, Greece, Austria, U.S.A, and so on. In the show shoot overseas, the characters always have international education background, or take a trip to foreign country, or the immigrates, after some time, they go back to Korea, and then some story happens. Apparently, the colors in Korean shows are really stunning, lovely, wonderful…because of the beautiful views and also the indoor decoration. Watching Korean shows would be an amazing visual journey.

Then, I’d like to introduce some popular Korean shows in recent years, and which are my favorites:

Sorry, I love you (2004, 16episodes,KBS)

Story: Abandoned chi

Producer:Jung Sung Hyo

Director: Lee Hyung Min

Writer: Lee Kyung Hee

Style: Tears

Featured Overseas Contury: Melbourne

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Full House (summer 2004, 16 episodes,MBC)

Based on Korean comics by Woo Sooyon

Producer: Song Hye-gyo

Style: Laughs

Comedy romance

Featured Overseas Country: Thailand

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Palace /Princess Hours(2006, 24 episodes,MBC)

Based on Korean comics by Park Soh-hee

Producer:Hwang In-roiStyle: Laughs

Comedy Romance, Cinderella style with Korean royal backgrounds

Featured Overseas Country : Macao

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Classic Series-Yoon Suk-ho’s Four Seasons Series, four different love stories…

Director: Yoon Suk-ho

Spring Waltz (2006,KBS)-endless love,brings you hope just like spring does…

It’s the final drama of Yoon’s Four Seasons series, because the start of this series is Autumn, and the saddest story of all four, in the last one, Yoon tries to tell people ‘the essences of love are hope, tolerance, and honesty…The childhood sweetheart theme again. The director uses different degrees of yellow, pink, blue and green to match the theme of spring, and part of the shootings are taken in Austria. The OST- One Love is as gentle as spring.

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Summer Scent(2003, KBS)-rains in summer take you to a wonderland of love…

A story of heart transplant: The main actor finds that when he comes close to a girl, his heart beats faster, he thought may he has a crush to that girl. Meanwhile the girl feels the same thing, and in fact, the girl’s heart was transplanted from the guy’s dead ex-girl friend’s…Falling in love the the same heart?! But once you fall in love, your heart never tells lies…

Again, Yoon takes us with his visual journey of Korea in the rain, may in Yoon’s view, the scent of summer is the scent of rain. A little change of the childhood sweetheart theme, but the two hearts are still familiar to each other . Summer, a season rains a lot, but you never know if next rain can bring two hearts get together…

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Autumn Fairy Tale (2000,KBS)-some time, when love faces death…

The beginning of Yoon’s seasonal series, the saddest story that I’ve seen in Korea dramas. When this drama released in Asia, the waves of Korean drama officially started. And I believe, in the year of 2000, every Asian family contributed their tears for this drama, from the beginning to the end, again, no one escaped.

Childhood sweetheart theme begins, this is Yoon’s ‘the theme of favorite’ and the major theme of seasonal series. But as the only one series ends with death, it really shocks people’s hearts.

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Winter Sonata (2002, KBS)- love is like pure snow, and must be completed by true lovers…

Still, childhood sweetheart, actually they were high school classmates, no promise, not too much communication, until you disappeared without saying goodbye…but I still keep you in my heart, on my engagement day I think I saw you. When you really stand in front of me, you are my friend’s boyfriend…

A story starts with winter, ends with spring, after all, a happy ending. This my favorite of all four, because winter is my favorite season, and of course, the snow…

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