Over at the excellent Gusts of Popular Feeling, Matt reviews the recently released Korean drama "Ode to My Father" (Korean title: Gukjae Shijang, i.e., "International Market"). He follows this up with more extensive research and commentary on the historical events referenced in the film. Both of his posts are well worth your while.
At Liminality, meanwhile, my buddy Charles offers his own perspective on the same film—parts of which worked for him, parts of which didn't.
Both Matt and Charles mention the problem of melodrama in Korean TV and cinema, which is one of the main reasons why I avoid most Korean TV and cinema. You may recall that I also complained about the weepiness of the movie "Interstellar," in which director Christopher Nolan seemed determined to shake off his image as a "cerebral" filmmaker in favor of being perceived as someone capable of genuine pathos.
That said, melodrama is much more of a problem in Korea than it is in the English-speaking West: the screaming, the crying, those unbearably interminable soliloquies—strangely contrasting with the near-total lack of passionate kissing. Korean melodrama usually plays like one long, blaring symphony of sexual frustration: whenever I watch two Korean characters fighting on TV or in a movie, I almost always end up thinking Things would be so much better if they just fucked. It's what Han Solo was really trying to say to Princess Leia:
LEIA: You're imagining things.
HAN: Am I? Then why're you following me? Afraid I was gonna leave without giving you a goodbye fuck?
LEIA: I'd just as soon fuck a Wookie.
HAN: I can arrange that! You could use a good fuck!
So say we all.