Tuesday, January 29, 2008

TV time

Last installment of Madre Luna was last night, final episodes of DJY were on this weekend, but I'll have to watch my tapes as my "live" viewing was interrupted so many times, I may have missed a lot. After that, will have to muse, ponder, process, think about them--and then find time to write my thoughts & comments down!

Found some DJY related sites (added a few to links) that I hadn't noticed before. Maybe some hadn't existed yet when I searched some time ago, or maybe different spelling kept me from finding these before.

Will trace later how I found name of DJY's successor, leading to googling "Parhae Mu Wang", which turned up interesting looking sites I haven't had time to investigate yet.

Tonight new telenovela starts on Telemundo that I may try called La Traicion (The Betrayal?), apparently about twin brothers (one good, one evil). Lead actor seems nice guy (tho brings to mind romance novel art & Cal. Gov. Arnold), and heroine looks intelligent as well as lovely.
Victorian-ish setting of novela seems lush--but I may be in mood more for something else.

Even before Geom and his two loyal Khitan companions rode off over the plains in DJY, I was longing for wide open unspoiled spaces, reading By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Chapter titled "Black Ponies" includes description of learning to ride bareback in vast wild grasslands that might be a little like Geom's childhood. Found other books about nomadic tribes in Asia that I'll list here and try to read (someday!)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Too tired to type!

I've been ill, and still am very tired. When I'm feeling better, plan to continue typing in my notes and comments.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Immortals stories, toy soldiers

John Stickler's book Land of Morning Calm also has page on "Ship Jang Seng", the ten longevity symbols often seen in tapestries, screens, pottery, etc:

Turtles, deer, cranes, sun, clouds. Pine trees, mountains, rocks, water; the tenth is pulno-cho , "the longevity plant", a mythical wild edible fungus. "According to legend, these mushroom-like plants are hard to find becasue only someone with a pure heart can see them. If you can spot one in the woods and eat it, you well never get old".

Wish noble DJY or maybe his son Geom found some and shared at a feast with all our favorite good guy characters in that drama (well, maybe amusing Tang-side Xue Rengui & Hong Pei too--they've spent so much time in Korean environs, they'd qualify as residents or long-time guests!) Then they could all live forever guiding their beloved homeland, like "guardian spirit" DJY's father aid he would become.

Number 8 is considered very good luck by Chinese. Don't know if this stems from legend of Eight Immortals or vice versa. Book Tales of a Chinese Grandmother by Frances Carpenter describes the Eight who include some women. Reminds me of British legend of the "Seven Sleepers" (related to King Arthur myth?) who will come to their country's aid when needed.

Think 7 Sleepers appear in William Mayne book Earthfasts (haven't read rest in series). Lighter treatment of theme is book Knight's Castle by Edward Eager, in which 4 children get chance to magically change story of book Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott; also enjoyable tale of toy soldiers coming to life, exploring creative process is Return of the Twelves by Pauline Clarke (British title The Twelves and the Genii.)

Wonder if there's any DJY tie-in action figures (modern term for toy soldiers)? Would be neat if those came with Chinese zodiac animal main characters represent too! ;-)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Korean popular art symbols

I think info below is from 2006 book Everlasting Flower: a history of Korea by Keith Pratt , page 167, essay on traditional popular art:

"Mandarin ducks as a celebration of wedded bliss. Diamond Mountains as a haven of peace and beauty. Lotus as a metaphor for purity. Carp on bedroom wall as fertility charm. Pine trees as reminder of respect due to the elderly".

(also squeezed onto same 3 x 5 index card was "Tajan, brush name Ch'usa"--will have to re-research that to find out why I jotted that down!)

2003 picture book Land of Morning Calm : Korean Culture Then and Now by John Stickler tries to explain the multiple meanings of traditional symbols on current South Korean flag; even foods have symbolic meaning:

"Many little side dishes called banchan, offer a variety of tastes and textures including seafood, meats, soybean curd (tubu) and many different vegetables. Each meal would have a dozen or more different banchan that provided all the nutients for a complete meal. Not only were the dishes good for you, they were beautiful to look at, too. There were usually foods of five different colors on the table--red, green, yellow, white and black--representing the five elements; fire wood, earth, metal and water."

Friday, January 18, 2008

Night and Day, East and West

Visual symbolism in two epidodic TV dramas I am currently following adds another language to them, besides spoken Spanish and Korean. Trying to figure out the key to understand them keeps me watching~

Like framework of Chinese zodiac for creation of characters in DAE JO YOUNG, noted Colombia scriptwriter Julio Jimenez uses elaborate personal symbolism for his telenovelas MADRE LUNA (Mother Moon) and LA VIUDA DE BLANCO (White Widow). Sun, moon, and rainbow of colors give clues to personalities & thoughts of characters of Jimenez.

Full moon veiled by dark clouds appears so many times lately in DJY, might image mean more than just indication of night? Chinese folktales tell of a woman or rabbit in the moon (rather than western Man in the Moon seen in shape of crater shadows.

Goguryo raven flag may stand for sun (note Japan's "Land of Rising Sun" flag. Think I read somewhere shape of sunspots looked like bird). If DJY is sun, who is his Lady of the Moon--rabbit-like Lady Sukyoung or long-separted love Chulin?

Korean dramas often use separated lovers to represent divided Korea, e.g. SEOUL 1945 & BELOVED ENCOUNTER (about boy & girl switched at birth; heroine eventually decides to marry him to reunite families, renouncing her very romantic love with another man).

MADRE LUNA is about long-separated lovers, female moon and male sun. Alejandra's colors are white, silvery or grey; Leonardo used to live in sunny yellow mansion, moving to sky blue hacienda . Circles may mean feminine , grids or squares (like plots of land?) masculine. Monday's episode gave good examples of visual symbolism (circle earrings, designs in Violeta's bar, spot rugs in Flavia's house); click MADRE LUNA link soon to view.

Color of clothing, cars, interior decoration also indicate thoughts , feelings and "sides" characters are on (like uniforms of servants or soldiers do). Pink of dawn=revelation or discovery (orange may mean sunset=bad news?) red=family love, blood ties? Green of leaves=life, brown=soil, purple of twilight=deception, hidden agenda (character with big secret is named Violeta!) Black of night may also mean someone has a secret, in the dark (in Spanish "obscuridad"), obscure.

Water (natural & manmade swimming pool, irrigation channels, etc) appear a lot in ML. Not sure of intended meaning, but common interpretations elsewhere are life, birth, cleansing.

In DJY, scene of Gulsabiwu & Geomlan in dark, murky forest expressed their sorrow & despair like grey charred ashes. "Watershed" moments in DJY often include streams, rivers, etc.

Hope DJY has happy ending like 1940's movie MARK OF ZORRO with Tyrone Power (with which it has some simularities, including freedom fighters against foreign rulers). Would love to see DJY & company settle down for long peaceful lives raising crops and lots of children!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Shakespeare and Soap Operas

One of my recurrent enthusiams is Spanish language continuing daily dramas or "telenovelas"--or at least quality ones that are unusual or exceptional in some way.

Among my all-time-favorites are the 1980's version of CORAZON SALVAJE and 1990's LA MENTIRA--both based on books by much-admired grand dame of novela writing, Caridad Bravo Adams. She started out writing during the Golden Age of radio novelas in the 1940's and 50's, turned hit scripts into books, which later were turned into TV and movie versions.

Her inspiration ranged from historical events to classic literature. A real-life volcanic erruption (book version of Corazon Salvaje is set on French Caribbean island where town of St. Pierre was wiped out (later versions used hurricane and earthquake for crisis leading to important plot turning point).

CBA's story La Mentira (The Lie) was inspired by Othello (down to handkerchief "proof")--only with a happy ending! (Will Shakespeare himself also got ideas for his plays from may sources, including other writers works). Version I saw starred Kate Del Castillo as wife who turns the tables on deluded husband who seeks revenge in remote part of Mexico; book is set in Rio de Janeiro & Amazon jungle

(I've read most of the 40 novels published by CBA, none ever translated into English as far as I know; all may have been out of print for many years aside from Corazon Salvaje trilogy).

90's TV La Mentira is available as much edited version on DVD which I haven't seen yet. Earlier film versions are also out that I'd love to see and compare. After I saw complete broadcast of Corazon Salvaje starring Palomo & Gonzales, I saw video cassette version released as rental some years ago with most sub-plot material & secondary characters cut, unfortunately!

Telemundo is running ads for new version of La Mentira story titled EL ENGANO (The Deception) starring actor I'm not keen on. Kate's LM was so perfect, only reason I can see for remake so soon is lack of contemporary creative writers--among reasons I started watching Korean and Japanese TV dramas, as a change from all -too-familiar TV tales of American origin.

More on my current Korean favorite another time...

Better late than never!

I almost forgot I'd set up this blog about four months ago. Think I did so to be able to comment (reminder to myself) on blog by a British woman opera fan's review of book "I Married a Pirate", which sounded a lot like 1950's movie musical "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" which I'd recently rewatched. Happened on that during search for pattern for a particular 1950's crocheted shawl. Intriguing the things that turn up when googling!

Probably I won't write daily, just in bursts when thinking about whatever my current enthusiasm may be. At the moment, this could be home for my comments that don't quite fit n elsewhere, that sort of stray over the borders of forums focusing on specific topics, kind of my own little island "between two worlds", a phrase I belatedly considered as title for this journal.

(BTW "Between Two Worlds" is title of book that sounded interesting at the time--but now I'm not sure which it was of the many possibilities it may be!) This could also be a place to store my notes on stuff to research later when I have more time, replacing bits of paper that tend to get lost. We'll see how it works out.