“Pachinko”: an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

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“Pachinko” imdb scored 8.4, 100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, and even the always strict MetaCritic once scored as high as 94, which set the highest score for this year’s new drama.

"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

It starts from the “shabby and old” South Korea, and the mainstream media’s evaluation is full of praise.

"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

“An epic story spanning decades and generations”

“Finely produced, beautifully shot, gorgeously performed, and deeply resonated”

“A grand, stunning masterpiece”

How is this “Pachinko”? Today, I will talk to you about it.

Korean movies have become popular all over the world in recent years.

"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

From “Gisaengchung” to “Squid Game”, cultural barriers are constantly being broken, sparking discussion frenzy around the world.

The success of “cultural export” is truly enviable and envious.

Related Post: ‘Pachinko’ officially renewed for a second season.

Many popular models are ahead. This time, Apple became the back-to-back sponsor and made a full-fledged “Pachinko” full of “pickled vegetables”.

"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

There are many Korean actors that we are familiar with on the cast.

Min-ho Lee, the “flower beauty” who was once popular in Asia. Yeo-jeong Yoon, who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress last year for “Minari”.

"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations
"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

The series is based on the phenomenal best-selling novel “Pachinko” by Korean-American writer Lee Min-jin.

The novel is very popular all over the world, and it has successively reached the top 1 of Amazon’s overall list in the United States, and TOP1 of the British Amazon literature list…

The story centers on a Korean family as the protagonist and tells the story of their century-long transition.

"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

From 1910, when North Korea became a Japanese colony, it went through World War II and the Korean War until the Japanese bubble economy burst in the 1990s.

From a small fishing village in Korea under Japanese occupation, to Osaka, Yokohama, Tokyo in Japan, and then to Wall Street in New York, USA.

“Pachinko” covers the ups and downs of life for four entire generations.

"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

The series uses a two-line narrative, one from the 1920s.

Sunja was born into a fisherman’s family in North Korea that became a Japanese colony when she was very young.

"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

She was taught to avoid the Japanese and to stop and bow her head when she saw a Japanese on the road.

Sunja, an adult, had a forbidden love with a man with a family, and only saw his scumbag true color after an unexpected pregnancy.

So she decided to leave her homeland and go to Japan to make a living

Another line, from the 1980s.

"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

Sunja, who has lived in Japan for many years, is already a grandmother.

Her grandson, Solomon, has become a New York financial elite, working in an investment bank.

But the rest of the family was less optimistic. Solomon’s sister ran away from her family and appeared to be seriously ill.

"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

My father runs a “pinball game hall”. Even though it is already a sunset industry, he insists on taking out a loan to open a branch.

"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

Her sister-in-law, who had always been with Sunja, died suddenly. This also makes Sunja recall the past again.

"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

As you can see, this drama is completely different from the previous popular Korean dramas.

There are neither eye-catching large-scale pictures nor sensitive social topics.

Just like the three big stages of “US, Japan and South Korea” set in the play, the whole play also mixes three different styles.

The first thing that catches my eye is the grand scenes and delicate light and shadow that are only found in American dramas.

Just a few pictures, you can see the low-key luxury with the funds in place. Photography, soundtrack, costume props, art direction… all are standard for Hollywood blockbusters.

"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

For example, the use of silhouettes to present the changes of the times and the appearance of heavy figures. Another example is to use the backlight to show the intimate interaction between the warm childhood and the father and daughter.

"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

In just one title, you can see the ingenious design and meticulous production of the main creator.

“Pachinko” expresses the passion for life of the main characters in a freehand manner, while interspersed with real historical photos.

Coupled with the classic music “Let’s Live For Today” from the 1960s as the opening song, the atmosphere of the times is about to emerge.

"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

What the West gives is the blessing of capital and technology, as well as a slightly external perspective, the internal performance of the play still belongs to the East.

In the era of Japanese drama Korea, we can see the delicate emotional portrayal in Korean dramas.

Sunja’s family is poor and his father is disabled. But under the warm care and love of her family, she still lived a pure and happy childhood.

"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

In one scene, Sunja was learning to be a haenyeo when she was a child. When she went to sea, her father held his breath with him, estimating the time when his daughter would go to sea.

The time got longer, and my father’s face became a little red from holding his breath for too long.

"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

Looking at the sea, which had not been seen for a long time, my father shook his body and took a deep breath, and immediately ran into the sea, shouting Sunja’s name.

It wasn’t until Sunja suddenly jumped out of the water that his dangling heart dropped.

"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

Her father fulfilled the promise Sunja made when she was born, and did everything in her power to keep her from harm. Unfortunately, he still failed to take care of his daughter to grow up and died of illness early.

"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

Even so, this deep fatherly love will still accompany Sunja throughout her life and support her through every hardship.

And when the scene is transferred to Japan, we can see the simple and ordinary life in Japanese dramas restored.

We can always see:

Grandmother Sunja and grandson Solomon, while doing housework, chatting at the same time. Or sit under the same roof.

"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

One has experienced vicissitudes of life, the other is young and successful. They were silent, but they were in touch with each other.

"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

“Pachinko” isn’t packed with too much drama and emotion. Instead, he was like a calm bystander, gently looking at the family that had experienced the storm in front of him.

The drama only uses simple pictures and simple language to show a kind of heavy and meaningful family affection.

"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

Due to its large size and complex content, it is difficult to summarize the play with a single theme. In addition to the continuation of the bloodline and the changes of the family, it also includes discussions on various topics.

such as nationalism.

In 1910, the Korean peninsula became a Japanese colony. For the next 35 years, the North Korean people have been oppressed and struggled to survive.

They grew up in their native land, but became untouchables. The hatred of subjugating the country, the shame of humiliating the country, but also a kind of spiritual destruction and torture.

"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

Another example is identity. From North Korea to Japan, Sunja’s identity has always been ambiguous. They are not respected in their homeland, and they cannot be fully integrated in foreign countries.

To her, the house is just a few walls. Although sheltered from wind and rain, it is far less precious than a bowl of hometown rice.

"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

You can’t go back to your hometown, and it’s hard to give up your hometown. The saddest thing is that young people completely forget their identity.

I can’t taste the taste of my hometown, I can’t speak the language of my parents. A wandering wanderer has become a rootless leaf after all.

"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

And the economic bubble.

The 1980s were the period of Japan’s bubble economy. Countless people have made huge fortunes and billionaires are everywhere.

"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

It was after seeing others make a fortune that Sunja’s son decided to take out a loan to open a branch. But perhaps predictably, the investment may end in catastrophic failure.

Blindly following the investment boom will inevitably become a cut leek.

"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

And femininity.

Compared with the previous “big heroine” themes, the heroine of this play is not “big”. It can even be said that she is quite ordinary.

The audience can’t get the refreshing pleasure of “upgrading and fighting monsters” all the way from her, but a kind of tenacity and unwillingness that belong to the little people who work hard to live.

For example, after Sunja told her mother that she was pregnant, she did not cry and hang herself, but chose to forbear and leave. She is not willing to be the mistress of the other party, she just wants to use her strength in exchange for the future

"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

After coming to Japan, Sunja still suffered a lot. He makes a living by selling kimchi all day long, earning a few hundred yen a day to make ends meet. The more grand the background of “Pachinko” is, the more it can reflect the insignificance of people.

Facing the changes of the times and life, all ordinary people can do is to force themselves to accept the reality and move forward with forbearance.

"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

Just like the title of the play “Pachinko”, this is a popular gambling game machine on the streets of Japan.

Players use steel balls as chips to win more game after game. Like all gambling machines, the pinball moves uncontrollably and the outcome of the game is unpredictable.

What it alludes to is a random and unpredictable life destiny like a gambling game.

"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

There is also a detail in the play, the owner of the game hall will find someone to adjust the metal rod of the game console every once in a while.

The newly arrived young people were puzzled and wondered if this approach was correct. The boss told him that he had asked the same question when he was young.

"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

When he was no longer young, he gradually understood the truth. Adjusting the metal rod doesn’t really affect the results much.

The core of the pinball game is to use people’s desire and dedication to success. Players will feel that when they hold the joystick, they control the game.

If they succeed, they will feel that it is their own credit, and if they fail, they will feel that it is their bad luck. As long as they have steel balls in their hands, the game will keep going.

"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

Actually, it’s all an illusion.

Fate is uncontrollable, but each player has the will to choose to continue upward. The desire for victory in the game is just like the yearning for hope in reality.

For Sunja, who has had a turbulent life, what supports her to keep starting is the will of the life handed down in the family.

The perseverance and courage that her parents taught her has become a bargaining chip for her to constantly resist her fate.

"Pachinko": an epic masterpiece spanning decades and generations

Although there are differences between Eastern and Western cultures, the emotions contained in historical changes are common.

A Korean-based “Pachinko” is popular with European and American audiences for this reason.

Related Post: “Pachinko” was criticized for distorting history, Korean audience: it is like an American drama in a Korean coat.

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