[Kang Myung Seok’s 100%] Hyun Bin, this man is crying
Completed translation of Kang Myung Seok’s 10 voice article. Please do go and support / like / recommend the original article at 10 Asia! ^^ I think it’s really well written~ *nod nod*
SBS <Secret Garden>’s ‘That Woman‘ is a mainstream pop song. Both the music arrangement and the melody are easily predictable. But when the song reaches these lyrics ‘ yi keojikatteun sarang ‘ (‘this beggar-like love’), the predictable path comes to a sudden halt. That, is the strength of Baek Ji Young. As she sings ‘ yi keojikatteun sarang ‘, she doesn’t cry out in sorrow. As the tune rises, her volume doesn’t really become louder. That’s because Baek Ji Young understands.
Even if this song is mainstream pop, it represents the heart of a woman who has to pretend everything is bearable in order to live.
Baek Ji Young sang out the sincere truths within such a mainstream song. And that, is Gil Ra Im’s love.
That man, Kim Ju Won, he doesn’t know. Why Gil Ra Im wants to back away and live her own life. But Hyun Bin understands. And does his best. Transforming the lyrics of ‘That Woman’, is ‘That Man‘, which Hyun Bin sings it, one note by one note, with all his heart and soul. He doesn’t coat his tunes with stylistic endings, he doesn’t use unnatural techniques either. At the age of 29, Hyun Bin knows how to sing like a youth who just joined the church choir.
Singing the song of this youth who has no idea what is love, yet is being tormented by love.
In <Secret Garden>’s episode 17 where Gil Ra Im went into deep coma, Kim Ju Won read the words from <The Little Mermaid> saying “And the Little Mermaid became bubbles and disappeared” as tears welled up in his eyes. He desperately wanted to do something, but knows not what to do. Wanting to cry yet knowing no matter what he must keep the tears from flowing. And that, is Kim Ju Won’s love.
The innocence of youth, the shoulders of a man
Usually, when a guy brags about his tracksuit made by an Italian master one bead~ by one bead~, he is just an obnoxious showoff. But to Hyun Bin, this youth is kicking up a fuss because he is begging for your attention on his dear possessions. Not because of his childishness. When Ju Won’s mother issued the ultimatum, “If you can survive with just love only, then go on this path*!” (*incidentally, in Korean, ‘path’ is also called ‘Gil’ ), Ju Won held back his tears. Although he is a youth who wishes to cry out, he understands this world where tears must be held back. A harsh adult in society, yet a bumbling youth in front of love. Trying to be an adult, yet with a heart ever so vulnerable; however illustrious he is at work, he is inexperienced in love. Behind his facade of an arrogant adult, we catch slips of the sincerity of his inner youthful innocence, the genuine side of Kim Ju Won.
That, is the strength of Hyun Bin. In two productions by In Jung Ok and Noh Hee Kyung, the actor succeeded in his roles as a 2nd generation chaebol, both times. And also as a gangster in MBC’s <Friend, Our Legend>. Whichever character he takes on, he never acts in any other way. Hyun Bin is the kind of actor who uses his own sensitivities to interpret his characters. Whether it’s Dong Soo, Kang Guk, Samshiki, these characters are respected for their professions and they do well in their careers. However I don’t think one can say that these characters love their jobs, or can bear their difficulties with manliness. In KBS’s <The World They Live In>, Ji Oh cries himself out when he’s alone, but when he’s beside his mother, he’s all smiles. He is a youth who knows that in order not to be hurt by this harsh world, one has to endure in silence, alone. Also, this youth doesn’t make justifications for himself, no matter who the other party is. His broad shoulders give a sense of trustworthiness. But when hurt, he doesn’t keep a grim face but instead, bears the pain with sad eyes. Hyun Bin is one of the rare actors who can project this type of men on TV, that’s why he could leave a deep impression with his subtle sensitivity in the mainstream melodramatic settings of dramas such as Secret Garden. Precisely why he is also the lead of <Late Autumn>, a remake of a romance movie classic. This youth’s innocence, it somehow fits together with the notion of a vintage romance centered around the love of that one particular person.
For a typical mainstream farewell scene, he made that moment real
Therefore, among all of writer Kim Eun Sook’s works, <Secret Garden>’s episode 17 was an extraordinary moment. The male leads in her dramas were always capable men confident of themselves, always leading the women. On the other hand, Hyun Bin’s Kim Ju Won is capable at work yet deep inside he is a ’21 year old’ always wavering between his feelings of love and the things bestowed upon him by his mum. If someone else had acted as Kim Ju Won, he wouldn’t be able to portray as successfully the cuteness of Kim Ju Won as he lay on the bed next to Gil Ra Im, still unrelenting with his sharp words. Hyun Bin is a man who could never have existed in the world of writer Kim Eun Sook.
After the male and female leads swapped their bodies, there had been much happenings in the drama, but during those moments, the story disappeared. Instead, the script focused on tackling society class differences and gay identity crisis, the latter somewhat meaninglessly. Till now, it doesn’t really seem to matter whether Ssun is gay or not. While the drama did explore the heartbreaking realities of class differences, every time Ju Won’s mother appears on-screen to thwart the lovebirds, scenes like that have been recycled in many dramas. What’s left of the drama are the struggles that Kim Ju Won and Gil Ra Im go through, and their ‘101 alternative ways of expressing love’. Since episode 2, when Kim Ju won’s mother attacked the couple, followed by the couple going through conflict > then reconciliation > finally romance — this cycle of love scenes repeat in this order as the drama progressed. With the story not progressing much, the drama depended on various little moments between the couple as they repeat their love ordeals over and over again. Until the pace suddenly escalated in episode 17. The episode where a driver appears innocently and easily ignores staff warnings to crash into Ra Im who was doing a stunt at high speed. The episode where a climax appeared because a climax was needed. Such an impossible scene. However, due to this scene, it ignited the passion of the viewers that had been slowing brewing through the earlier episodes.
Like ‘That Woman’ and ‘That Man’, episode 17 caused the viewers’ predictable path to come to a halt. This man who had earlier read a fairytale in <Snow Queen>, he didn’t wail nor did he hold back his tears in that pivotal scene as he read the words of <The Little Mermaid> in Secret Garden. Instead, right before his tears flowed, with eyes brimming, he turned into a youth who’s trying hard to go through a tragedy that happens in many dramas. Hyun Bin went beyond the character crafted by writer Kim Eun Sook, he drew out the genuine heart of the character with his acting. While everyone else was talking about typical interpretations of love, that man appeared. For the first time, suffering through all these ordeals with the truest heart, this man is crying.
Thanks to Photo Sketches #256, official SG site
Thanks to Photo Sketches #279, official SG site