fitful fancies of a fevered imagination (III)


Final indulgence of my flu bug period was to watch Jang Geun Suk old k-movies, which was filmed around the time when he was nineteen or twenty. I think his management at the time decided to push him in the direction of being a teen idol star, so the movies had the mark of adolescence.

Today is another sunny day
Your smile fills up my day

I don’t think I would have liked him as a actor quite so much if these were the first movies of his that I watched because the vibe was so young. It would be like being a fan of the male Korean equivalent of Miley Cyrus, in the company of pre-pubescent teens who declared him to be their “boyfriend of 2011!” (exclamation mark included).

Its both icky and sobering.

Anyway, I was thinking about what sets teen-targeted works and/or works written by adolescence from general adult fiction and Doremifasolatido illustrates some of these features. (yes, even the title). The film is based on an internet novel with the same title written by Guiyeoni when she was a teenager.

Title: Do re mi fa so la ti do (filmed in 2006; released in 2008. Watch the whole movie here.)

Plot: Protagonist Jung won (Cha Ye Ryeon) works part time in an amusement park, wearing a dragon costume. One bad day at work, she encounters a group of boys who laughed at her costume and she ends up dumping water (of course) on chief-laugher. Chief laugher is Eun-gyo (Jang Geun Suk) who coincidentally becomes her new next-door neighbour and (of course) develops feelings for her. He coerces her into spending time with him, upon which she finds out he is the cool guy with a musical talent and frontlines a band that has quite a large teen following.(of course.)  Incidentally, laughing at amusement park workers aside, he is quite nice.

A spanner in the relationship works was a former male best friend of Jung-won, named Hee won (Jung Eui Chul), now best friend of Eun-gyo. Jung-won and Hee won’s friendship ended when he beat her up for reporting his father’s hit-and-run accident. (I am not joking) However, after some pointless angry exchanges, Hee won decided that he wants Jung-won back so, he emotionally blackmails her into leaving Eun-gyo by threatening to jump off a building. So, Jung-won sacrificed her budding relationship with Eun-gyo for crazy guy who once beat her up. (nope, not kidding). Unfortunately, Eun-gyo could not take the stress of the breakup, got himself hit on the head and promptly loses his memory; his music and the people he cares for. (I cannot make this up if I tried). Jung-won (who seems to have a thing for guys with issues) decides to help him reconstruct his memory by re-enacting his band’s final concert. The re-enactment worked and the course of true love finally did run smooth.

My love is always by my side

As long as you are there

I can do anything


[Off tangent: I never figured out why Hee won gave up Jung-won so easily after Eun-gyo lost his memory. One would expect psycho emotional blackmailer to be more consistently ruthless.]

There is a blithe innocence in the film/novel that makes me both adore it and laugh at it. I like the innocence comes from a belief in our innate capability to love deeply and receive that love. No flip-flopping of feelings on either side – they were always true to each other in their hearts and they say it simply.  So, people tear up when teen hero says “I am sorry I love you…hurting is easier than forgetting.”

I didn’t cry but looking at the comments after the video, quite a number of people did. Incidentally, the lines may be simple and poignant, but some of the actions to represent that depth of love is really quite comical. Like Eun-gyo clutching his head, groaning because he cannot stand the pain of his broken-hearted memories coming back. (see minute 4:29 to 4:45 in video) I like Jang Geun Suk but even I almost fell off my bed laughing since he looks like he is being exorcised of evil spirits rather than regaining his memory.

Which brings me to  the necessary emergence of contrived obstacles that the story has to throw at the characters to sustain the tension in the narrative. They are necessary because since the sincerity of main couples feelings are never in question, the only possible obstacles to the course of true love was all external – the jealous ex-best friend, the memory loss. Unlike in real life, its never the mundane realities of our own weaknesses that ruin relationships; its always circumstances. So, I think the characters never really grow. They are caught in situations we secretly daydream about happening to us where you can be the hero/heroine and its never your fault.

Other teen shows throw obstacles like rapes (Sky of Love) or cancer (Crying Out Love in the Centre of the World) or early death (Nada Sou Sou). We can all feel sorry – uncomplicatedly.

I would like to hold on to the blithe innocence and its attendant joy that is getting harder to recall; but sometimes, I think its for the best that we forget. It may be time to grow up.

Even if sometimes you are difficult
Even if you may get hurt
But I will never let go
I will be always by your side

Postscript: I hereby acknowledge that my sample size is too small for generalities (hehe, sorry, fahfi!).

Italicized preformatted lines are the lyrics of the song ‘Full of Sunshine’ in the Doremifasolatido OST> Lyric translations are courtesy of this site.

4 thoughts on “fitful fancies of a fevered imagination (III)

  1. Poor JGS. I wouldn’t want to watch myself looking like a retard rather then someone with amnesia (that overused device) especially if I know I can actually act. I realise that I cannot watch any of the following, especially now after having kids
    1. romantic teen movies with the requisite jerk with a good heart hero and the tomboyish heroine (I could once, some kind of wonderful used to be one of my fave shows when I was a teen but now, like catcher in the rye, the charm is completely lost. My sympathies now are firmly with the parents.And how come it is so easy for people to fall for these characters?! When Valancy Stirling cant even get 1 beau. Not one)
    2. anyone who says they are sorry for loving someone. Come on, get over the victim complex. Life is short.
    3. anyone who would rather hurt than forget. Ditto

    Unlike my dear compassionate sister, I feel like punching someone’s face in the face of such effrontery.

  2. sample size might be too small, but the topic is interesting!

    It’s always kesian when a good actor is stuck in a bad role. (I’m looking at you predators!)

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