April 12, 2006

[KOREAN TV DRAMA REVIEWS] 부활 - 감독판 (Rebirth - Director's Cut) PART 2

(Posted In Asia DVD News Drama Reviews TV )

rebirthdc.jpg부활 - 감독판 (Rebirth - Director's Cut)
Released By: KBS Media/Bitwin on 03/03/2006

Running Time: 1,560 Minutes (24 Episodes)
Audio: Korean Dolby Digital 2.0
Aspect Ratio: OAR 1.85:1/16:9
Format: DVD-9 NTSC Region 3
Subtitles: English, Korean, Visually Impaired Track
*Note: The disc starts with the Visually Impaired Track by default. Press Menu as soon as the background voice starts.

DVD - North America
DVD - Rest of the World

CONTINUES FROM PART 1

Disc 9

명장명, 명대사 (Best Scenes, Best Lines) [77:35]
Audio Commentary (PD Park Chan-Hong, Writer Kim Ji-Woo, Eom Tae-Woong, Han Ji-Min) ON/OFF
MAJOR, MAJOR SPOILERS

This is just great, even better than the commentaries. Basically we get the best scenes of the show, with (sometimes hilarious, mostly very informative) commentary with the usual suspects.

1회 - Episode 1
- Scene 02
They used a lot of graphics in this lighthouse scene, to create a dreamlike, beautiful feeling. Eom jokes that the kids were running without knowing where they were going, as they only added the lighthouse later via CG. Park comments that he wanted to combine the beautiful and painful memories from Ha-Eun's past all in one. They did the b&w color correction on purpose, to make people focus on the ring, and Park remembers it took 3 full days of shoot to complete that scene.
- Scene 40
Since this was the first time they were introducing Shin-Hyeok, they wanted to associate his room to his personality as much as possible, that's why we see the Guernica, and this huge and sophisticated place, yet without any touch of humanity.

2회 - Episode 2
- Scene 19
PD Park says he has no comments about this scene... and sure enough, it's because HERE he got his nickname, 욕사마 (yoksama, a playword on Yonsama and Yok, meaning swear word), as it seems he scolded Eom Tae-Woong and Han Ji-Min pretty badly for this bus scene. Looking back at it, Park does feel sorry, and says he didn't scold the kids because... well, they were kids. Han added that they shot that scene for so long, they had to have dinner in the wee hours of the morning. Yoksama strikes again...

3회 - Episode 3
- Scene 45
This is the famous kiss scene between Ha-Eun and Eun-Ha. Actually Kim Ji-Woo didn't write such a long scene, it was much simpler, but PD Park wanted something a little more intense, so they shot it longer. Yoksama jokes with Eom, asking him if he liked the kiss, and Han Ji-Min comments ironically that even if that day was really cold, she kind of felt a little warmer after that scene.

4회 - Episode 4
- Scene 15
This was really hard for the DP, as it's one of the most complicated scenes of the show. In fact, they shot it until 4:30 in the morning. Then they talk a little about the props for the scene, like the knife, and the role of Lee Dae-Yeon in the scene.

5회 - Episode 5
- Scene 38
Writer Kim comments how impressed she was by the lighting, as PD Park wanted to create a mix of reality and a strange, unfamiliar feeling with that first meeting. Eom comments about the shooting and the editing, commenting that when he shot the separate scenes, he tried to simply show a warmer side for Ha-Eun, and a colder one for Shin-Hyeok, to sort of emphasize the contrast between the two's personalities. When actually shooting, it felt a little awkward as he had no partner to face off with (which is when acting is at its most difficult), but the editing was able to bring to the surface the differences between the two characters. Park notes how he used blue and yellow for this scene too, emphasizing the connection between colour and personality.

- Scene 66
This is probably THE scene which told the entire country, hey, we've got a major talent on our hands, and he's not 'just' Eom Jung-Hwa's little brother anymore. I remember literally spitting my drink and remaining stuck in front of the TV for 30 seconds while watching this. Just masterful acting, directing, writing, editing, all in one. Of course Eom had a really hard time here, shooting for three entire nights. After this scene, Park felt like Eom had upgraded something in his acting. It was something subtle, but after that he changed even as an actor. Maybe all he needed was this kind of emotional tension released all at once.

6회 - Episode 6
- Scene 13
Perhaps one of many netizens' favourite scenes, effectively portraying all the pain and anger fighting inside his mind.

- Scene 50~52
Han feels that this scene, mixing Ha-Eun's painful struggle while Eun-Ha eats his favourite dumplings made things even sadder. Writer Kim said she avoided watching it with her family, as she knew how she'd react.

7회 - Episode 7
- Scene 52
This scene had a few very popular lines, and Kim comments that it's exactly how PD Park talks. He says that it might have been simple dialogue, but the way it combines with the facial expression and the characters' situation leaves a lasting impression on you. And especially those words at the end have particular importance.

8회 - Episode 8
- Scene 3
Shooting this scene was quite hard, as it was always near 30 degrees C. This is where Shin-Hyeok meets two of the protagonists of his revenge plot.

9회 - Episode 9
- Scene 33~35
Some netizens were joking that Shin-Hyeok should have just told Eun-Ha everything that happened in this situation (but then of course the Drama would sort of collapse). The four comment that the weather really helped them, as many times when they needed rain, it ended up raining. Of course it's not very comfortable to shoot when that happens, but it adds a certain touch that 'prop rain' can't give you.

11회 - Episode 11
- Scene 10
They comment that this might be the scene which won Shin-Hyeok (the real one) the viewers' sympathy, in a way. As his twin brother suffers the sorrow of losing him for something that was directed at him, people started understanding why he acted like that, how he had to hide his emotions for so long, forced by the pain. Of course acting alone like that was harder for Eom, but the result was quite effective.

- Scene 75~76
Here Park introduces the fact he uses split screen during important phone calls, as opposed to using an actor looking at the screen, as he feels it makes viewers immerse themselves into the show a lot more.

12회 - Episode 12
- Scene 27
This is the first meeting between Ha-Eun and Hee-Soo, and PD Park really liked the dialogue here. Hee-Soo is not just an underling of Ha-Eun in the grand scheme of things, but someone who helps him in his quest, working in partnership with him, just like Chief Cheon.

13회 - Episode 13
- Scene 3
PD Park comments how the facial expression, lip movement, even the speech patterns of Ha-Eun change, resembling more and more Shin-Hyeok, especially when he meets Su-Cheol inside his secret apartment in this scene. He doesn't rush words like Ha-Eun would have done, but speaks slowly, giving weight to every word. PD Park nagged at the actors constantly exactly to let that kind of detail emerge from their acting, not because he wanted to hurt their feelings. But just like Eom in previous episodes, Park felt Go Myung-Hwan improved, upgraded his acting after this scene. And once again, we're dealing with strong emotional tones, so maybe that's his secret.

- Scene 24
Park, introducing the fact there's many impressive line of dialogue in the show, asks Kim how she does it. She simply says it was something inside her head, she didn't make those lines up on purpose. If anything, the fact all characters are looking for something, and their answer always goes back to themselves, helped create the 'everything going back to initial point' circle line. This is why calling this show 'Revenge' for the English title sells it short, as this show is more about closing that circle, understanding oneself, facing with one's demons than simply consuming revenge.

14회 - Episode 14
- Scene 57
Regarding the scene when Su-Cheol gets a severe beating from Choi Dong-Chan's men, the script just noted he would be getting a beating, but it was actually the action director who suggested they hang him from the wall, as that would have added a layer of freshness to the scene. He added some cruelty to the scene as it was the perfect way to show Choi Dong-Chan's personality, to finally show he wasn't just a man of words. The location where they shot is actually a tunnel leading to the entrance of the KBS Center.

16회 - Episode 16
- Scene 63~64
Again talking about the use of split screen, Park comments that it's much better shooting this way, as it's like two actors going face to face, and it helps showcase their emotional reaction. It's also much better than swinging back and forth between closeups. Kim was impressed at the use of 'ancillary' shots, like focusing on the dices for Shin-Hyeok, or the fingers for some other characters, as it helps creating a mood around those characters that only words and facial expression aren't always able to do.

- Scene 66~67
Just a quick comment to show Shin-Hyeok was a little pissed going in the elevator, where he meets Eun-Ha.

17회 - Episode 17
- Scene 62
Park thinks this scene features some of the saddest dialogue in the entire show, as he felt a void even just reading that part about not being able to eat dumplings because they were his brother's favourite food.

18회 - Episode 18
- Scene 81
This scene was changed because of Kim Gyu-Cheol's accident. He was supposed to come out of the car and greet Kang In-Cheol, but since he was wearing a cast, he had to stay inside.Yet, just four days after surgery, Kim was already on the set shooting 10 hours a day.

19회 - Episode 19
- Scene 31~34
This is the first scene with Park Sang-Cheol, and Park comments that the actor playing him was introduced by Kim Yoon-Seok, who worked with him in his theater days. Park had never seen him, and looking at the script, he thought they'd just shoot really fast all his scenes. But listening to his voice, his charisma delivering those lines, they ended up shooting much more than expected.

20회 - Episode 20
- Scene 19
Super quick scene with Choi Dong-Chan inside the car.

- Scene 64
Park feels sorry for Eom about the scene where they run in the school yard. Actually the schedule was for an afternoon shoot, but since Park thought this was a really important scene, showing the relationship between Shin-Hyeok and Hee-Soo perfectly, he decided to shoot it at night. That 'I wanted you to win' line is a sort of metaphor for their relationship, as Shin-Hyeok would like to rid himself of all that burden, but he can't.

22회 - Episode 22
- Scene 40
PD Park decided to go to Myung-Dong because he liked the idea of shooting in between many people. But since the two stars are so popular, it become almost impossible to shoot there. But they all felt really good shooting in places like that, and shot there for a long time, even though we only get to see a few seconds.

23회 - Episode 23
- Scene 11~13
This is the scene where both recognize each other's roles in all this affair. Of course In-Cheol knew about Ha-Eun before, but this is the moment when Ha-Eun gets to know who In-Cheol really is. Park comments that their facial expressions were really impressive here.

- Scene 67
This is that wonderful scene piecing together all flashbacks to reveal to Tae-Joon Hee-Soo is his son. And of course they praise the great Kim Gab-Soo, who with just a little smile and an introspective look, brings to school just about everyone else. Just brilliant, brilliant acting. It's with scenes like that and what happens later that you gain sympathy for his character, even though you know all he's been involved with.

- Scene 69~71
The scene where Ha-Eun finds the most important evidence is in the Church where Im Dae-Shik would go. Although they had a script before, PD Park actually changed everything after talking with the priest there, using all his advice in the script, and shooting soon after. Eom jokes it had a certain Indiana Jones feeling.

24회 - Episode 24
- Scene 33
This is one of the key scenes of the last episode, when Ha-Eun closes his 'circle' with Sang-Guk and Tae-Joon. One of the PD's favourite, as well.

- Scene 58~59
One of my favourite scenes, the four comment about the end of Tae-Joon's character arc, so to speak. Even though Tae-Joon made bad choices, and hurt many people, the way he goes out makes you think, makes you strip the acts from the person, and sympathize with him anyway, feel sad about what he does. They also note how Hee-Soo looks like his father, and that looking at how he wasn't able to forgive him for what he did, the way things end up makes him even sadder. And then they comment about an important element of this finale, that even Ha-Eun, as 'good' a person as he is, ends up hurting other people by following his revenge plot, because he only considers things from his point of view (which then kicks off the guilt he experiences in the second half of the episode, leading to the end). Some viewers might have felt strange, because at the end of the day what they're doing here is trying to make you sympathize with one of the main 'bad guys' of the show, but this shows that after all even 'bad people' have weak points, and that leads you to sympathize and understand them.

- Scene 69~72
This is the scene where everyone realizes what happened to Tae-Joon, and react accordingly, from the sorrow of his daughter, to the guilt of Ha-Eun, and finally the anger of Hee-Soo.

- Scene 81~85
Here PD Park gets all philosophical (yet he says nothing that isn't true), and brings this film even closer to Park Chan-Wook's 친절한 금자씨 (Sympathy For Lady Vengeance). They shot those scenes fast, because they were afraid the buildings behind them would turn off the lights. Park comments that if Ha-Eun didn't stop reflecting about his acts after revenge is completed, then this story would have been too simple. It's impossible not to go through some kind of guilt or pain after doing something like that, which is probably why people related to his dilemma even more, and why they understand why he forgives Hee-Soo for what he does (although Eom's facial expressions clearly helped here).

- Scene 90~92
This, the final scene, is Kim's favourite (mine as well). Lots of people were confused, thinking he was dead, but that's probably because Park was able to extrapolate so many meanings from the Drama that people saw different things. Kim even jokes that the Drama showed many more meanings than the script. Since the road was shorter than expected, he used those brilliant cuts for the end.

NG 장면 (NG Scenes) [9:45]

This is taken from a TV Show, so it's even more fun, as they edit out the scenes with various little funny popups. It's the usual NG collection, but for some reason this seemed more fun than those on other TV Drama DVDs. There was a buzz on the net about Eom Tae-Woong doing many NGs (and it's nothing surprising, as even great actors like Seol Kyung-Gu tend to do many), as there's a scene here where the PD screams 'now it's 10,000 Won per NG', and he ends up doing two more. But the best parts are with Kim Gab-Soo and especially Kim Gyu-Cheol. This shows PD Park likes to go with long takes, so sometimes that creates peculiar situations. I bet most of the time, Kim Gyu-Cheol was doing those facial expression not to crack up, which is why sometimes you see him half-laughing, trying to contain himself. But still, great performance, and tons of fun. Kim Gab-Soo is the same, oozing charisma from all angles. Wish Film DVD added things like this, but material from TV is not always available, as they mostly focus on Dramas NG.

인터뷰 (Interview)
MAJOR SPOILERS

- 감독 - 박찬홍 (PD - Park Chan-Hong) [8:48]

buhwalpch.jpgPD Park begins thanking the fans and especially the 'Rebirth Panic', and the executive producer who made this show possible. He talks about how with this DVD you can experience everything about the show once again. In talking about the main themes of this Drama, he says there's a lot of philosophical layers to this show, and if you look at the final scene, when Ha-Eun returns back to his initial 'self', completing a virtual circle and leading it back to the inital point, you'll feel what this Drama wanted to tell. Of course the interpretation is something that's open to the viewers. Regarding the casting, he admits one of his friends, a PD who previously worked with writer Kim Ji-Woo, helped him a lot choosing the actors, and even dealing with the casting problems the show faced at the beginning, with many changes influencing the show -- which at a point even risked collapse. In dealing with staff members, he simply listened to people who worked with him before, like PD Jeon Chang-Geun. If he was confident about them, then he brought them in, as working with him for a long time created a strong sense of trust.

About the style of his cliffhangers, he did simply follow what was on the script, but he added something of his own. Since we're dealing with someone -- Ha-Eun -- going through a very strong sense of anger and who's plotting revenge, he focuses on the character's eyes a lot during those final scenes. And if you pay attention, 3-4 episodes often close with Ha-Eun looking at the camera, or similar things. That was his way of connecting that to the anger theme. But he also uses this as a sort of confrontation, between the character and the audience. It's a way for him to 'wake up' the viewer, to go one on one with them in that sense. It's not just cheap shock tactics, but a way to immerse them in a stronger way in the show. As for the use of the dices in the show, first it was for reasons related to colour (yellow and blue) and how it tied to the characters' personalities, but something not too many people actually noticed, is that he also uses numbers. Before the last scene when Ha-Eun gets stabbed, the last time we see the dices, they show the number 7, which is a lucky number in Korean folklore. This was his way of wishing him good luck.

Even though things like these are fun for him as a producer, he was glad some people picked up on all that and enjoyed it as well. He did worry a little about the show and its reception, as it was certainly not easy to digest, compared to other shows. But ultimately he trusted the viewers enough to let them pick up his hints, rather than making everything as easy as possible. He comments about his competition during the time the show aired, without naming names -- he just says 'that 국민드라마 (national drama) -- which of course was 내 이름은 김삼순 (My Lovely Sam-Soon), and how back then when one show was recording 50% and his only one digit ratings, it was really hard. But they always tried their best, and would never give up. Then somewhere in the middle he met the 'Rebirth Panic', and they gave him and the entire crew power. To first not fall down, and give justice to that wonderful script up until the end.

He closes thanking people for supporting the show, and hopes viewers will walk the same road as Ha-Eun, reflecting about themselves and returning to the initial point. And he closes with that great line, '끝은 곧 시작입니다 (The End is Just Another Beginning)' from the show.

- 작가 - 김지우 (Writer - Kim Ji-Woo) [10:05]

She had a sort of fear about this 'revenge drama' genre, and she discussed with the PD about it many times, but above all the genre's tropes she wanted to focus the Drama on three themes: 1) Pain 2) Going back to the initial point for every character and 3) Happiness. Most of the characters in the Drama feel a kind of pain, so she wanted to try and understand what was behind that feeling, and not just show pure hatred; she also wanted to sort of reflect back on the character all that pain they go through (meaning, it's not really the situation making them suffer, but themselves), and finally happiness is that feeling the viewers experience in relating to what happens to the characters in the show. The two big 반전 (twist) of the show were about Choi Dong-Chan and Ha-Eun's supposed death. In Choi Dong-Chan's case, the real life accident Kim Gyu-Cheol suffered sort of led her to focus on other elements to get to the final confrontation, so in a way that gave new power to the Drama. As for Ha-Eun's death, she never intended to kill him, but to show that 'Rebirth' of the title, after experiencing a sort of death, which might be spiritual (losing his brother, losing his previous identity as Ha-Eun, losing his past), but then being able to start anew, which again brings us back to that 'the end is the beginning' theme.

About the religious elements in the film, she didn't intend them as being Christian or any other religion in particular, because she wasn't focusing on the meaning of God itself, but she focused on people. She believes a God exists, but after all, every person hides what they consider God, that presence or spirit, inside their soul. So she used this to represent that moment when you lose something inside yourself (just like Ha-Eun), and that something is what the characters try to regain during the course of the show. So we're not talking about the 'organized religion' way of intending the figure of God, but what that means for every character, how it relates to their struggle. And about the relationship between God and the characters, she never thought of showing it explicitly (like, say, a sort of prayer). But it's simply the moment when the characters face themselves at their most honest, dropping all the lies and the assumptions, looking at themselves in the mirror (which, in this case, was helped tremendously by that 'reflection' effect used by PD Park).

She then explains in depth why Cheon Gong-Myung helps Ha-Eun. He was this famous and rich fund manager, someone with a Midas' Touch, who ended up investing a little too close to home, and losing a lot of money because of it. Betrayed by the people he felt were closer to him, he helps this foreign worker because of guilt, and after experiencing his suicide, reflects about the way he lived his life. In a way, since he's someone who experienced everything from top to bottom, he can sense why Ha-Eun won't be able to go all the way with his revenge, exactly because he's gone through the same kind of feelings. About the use of things like the dices, when writing the outline, she discussed with PD Park and PD Jeon about a way to connect the two twins, even though they were separated, so they thought about the dices. That mixed the image of gambling, which then brings up instantly the idea of destiny, since you can't possibly know what number the dice will turn up. And of course it's the most simple of all gambling, in a way. On top of that, PD Park added further layers, like the use of colour which would then define the two's personalities, and then even numbers (like 7 for good luck, or 4 for death).

About Kim Yi-Hwa, she says that she makes that decision only a mother could, and ends up in a situation where living would be worse than dying, but she has to go through that, because that's the kind of pain mothers experience. Talking about the characters which embodies her personality the most, she thinks in a way all characters, from Ha-Eun to In-Cheol, carry bits and pieces of her personality, or just like many 'Rebirth Panic' remind her, there's plenty of dialogue in the film which comes from people she knows (like PD Park himself!), so that's why she feels so close to them. She closes thanking the fans, saying that through all the people who supported the show, she learned you can't walk the road alone.

- 촬영감독 - 변춘호 (DP - Byun Choon-Ho) [4:57]

He doesn't think he made a really important personal contribution to the show, it was just a case of trying to help a talented crew and cast make a beautiful script come alive. If anything, what really had a strong meaning for him were the fans, who constantly made him feel good, gave him strength and touched him. If there's anything to highlight regarding this Drama, it's exactly the fans' support. He comments that there weren't really any difficult parts about his work, if not for the difficulty of translating Kim Ji-Woo's ideas into visuals, which sometimes was hard to deal with. And on a personal level, since he's someone who tends to sleep a lot, dealing with the shooting schedule and the decrease in sleeping hours was really hard to adapt to, as he had to stay up for much longer. But other than that, it was really a fun experience.

They tried to put much more emphasis on that balance between yellow and blue, darkness and light, to show the two faces the characters show, and the two sides of the coin we go through in life. This was in the script too, and comes alive thanks to the dialogue, but they wanted to help that visually, through those 'mirror-like' reflection scenes, the use of colours, and lighting. Every single scene has a certain meaning for him, but if he had to pick one up, that'd be the last scene. That meaning of the end being just another beginning, just like their career. He finally talks about his relationship with PD Park, who was called 칼사마 (kalsama, kal meaning knife) on the set. That's because he's got plenty of charisma, and that often leads to big scenes. But his major talent is that of paying attention to every single cast and crew member, considering them part of a single, cohesive unit, and demanding the same level of attention from everybody. That's why everyone was able to come together and give it their all to make this a successful Drama. He closes saying the people who made the show what it is, improving it through their support, were the fans. So he thanks them for that.

- 조명감독 - 정길용 (Lighting - Jung Gil-Yong) [2:45]

The use of colours was something they discussed with the PD and writer right from the beginning, it wasn't just something they added themselves. If anything, because this was a 'mystery melodrama', the use of yellow and blue underline the personality of the characters, but also the show's tone. Some of the most difficult scenes were at the end, and during Shin-Hyeok's assassination, as they finally decided to go with a dark blue tone. It was hard work, but he's satisfied with the final result. He was surprised and happy that so many people talked about the lighting on the show's message board. He thinks this is the kind of Drama you don't see too often nowadays, and the reason why something like this was possible is because everyone worked together, even in difficult, sometimes dangerous conditions, to form a cohesive unit.

- 편짚감독 - 김영주 (Editing - Kim Young-Joo) [3:04]

Even though the editing in mystery Dramas is always much more difficult than usual, she really didn't experience any difficulties, thanks to the great script, visuals and acting. She also talks about the difficulties of having to leave out scenes which might have been important to fit the time slot, and how sometimes that became sort of a nightmare, given how much attention people gave to particular lines or scenes in the show. Talking about the deleted scene she liked the most, it was one regarding Yi-Hwa and Shin-Hyeok. In her 15 year long career, she didn't really pay attention to the Internet before, but thanks to this Drama she realized this medium's potential, and feels really thankful to them, for creating a 'rebirth' for this show.

- 음악감독 - 지평권 (Music - Ji Pyung-Kwon) [2:24]

The first time he received the script, he had a lot of worries, as he was dealing with something that's rarely seen in the industry. This idea of mixing destiny, love, mystery and many other things was really hard for someone used to the usual formula. In a way, he tried to take shinpa tropes in terms of musical cues, and strip them of the excess they often carry with them, leaving you with only the sadness on the surface. He wrote a lot of music with a classical style, trying to give weight to scenes, escaping the shinpa canon. The difference between working in films and TV Dramas is of course the running time, and the fact you have less time to focus on the music, as it's often thrown in on the spot. But he tried to create something meaningful even within those boundaries.

- 미술감독 - 나이선 (Art Direction - Nah Yi-Seon) [3:30]

Compared to other Dramas, we're dealing with locations a lot more complex than usual. So in following the PD's taste, she just didn't create the usual 'Chaebol House' for all the rich characters. In In-Cheol's case, his house gives a very 'upscale' feeling, but it's more a place which feels like people lived there for a long time, whereas Sang-Guk's house is much colder, and has that minimalist look fitting with his situation at home. The camerawork in the two cases was much different because of the differences, as a result. She used the Guernica to emphasize the intensity felt inside Shin-Hyeok's room, to underline his anger. If you look at Shin-Hyeok's room, you can find both Geon-Ha and the 'dead Gang-Hyeok', as there's an image of a mother holding a dead son in the background, and another dead person, so it combines all those elements in a simple room. She's really thankful so many people noticed that kind of attention to detail, and that gave her additional strength in doing her work.


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- 서하은/유신혁 - 엄태웅 (Seo Ha-Eun/Yoo Shin-Hyeok - Eom Tae-Woong] [5:41]

buhwaletw.jpgHe doesn't think he ever received this kind of love and support from the fans before, so every time he went to the official site's message board, he really felt the power of this medium. All that support made him think that they weren't shooting the Drama alone, that there was a force helping them from afar, an invisible but very powerful influence on them. When he looked at the role, it was the kind of character every male actor would like to play, so at first he was really excited about getting the lead. But then the sense of responsibility came, and he started worrying about how to portray the character. Even just reading the script, he was constantly amazed at how people can write so well, but then again, minutes later he would feel the burden of living up to that kind of script. When acting as Ha-Eun, he tried to emphasize everything bright, to give him as much warmth as possible, whereas for Shin-Hyeok he did the opposite, emphasizing his cold personality. Of course then when he had to play this new monster, the Doppelganger borne out of Ha-Eun and Shin-Hyeok, he just tried to bring something of both characters to the table.

But really, it was a character created in unison by him, the writer and especially the PD, who through his 'Yoksama' ways, sort of forced it out of him. The most comfortable scenes to act were mostly dealing with Ha-Eun's melodrama, as it was simply a case of a man and a woman loving each other, and in some ways some of his personality traits mirrored his, so it was easier to portray, even though still very demanding. The first time he went to the set, he was almost shocked by the PD's working style, his habit of swearing like a storm, and his energy. There wasn't much of a variety in his swearing ways, but he would do it pretty often. But as he learned his working style, he realized it was just his way of getting rid of the piling pressure, and at the end of the day, his charisma and ability to make people focus is what a director should be able to do. So even though back then he just took in all the swearing and screaming, looking back at it, he thinks it was a positive learning experience, and Park really showed all his charisma and leadership, even if in an unorthodox way.

As time goes by, he thinks he'll remain in his thoughts as a father figure more and more. Concluding the interview, he thanks all the fans, and hopes he'll be able to star in a great Drama like this once again in the future.


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- 서은하 - 한지민 (Seo Eun-Ha - Han Ji-Min) [4:11]

buhwalhjm.jpgOther than forming a sort of family with all the great actors and staff members, the thing she loved about working on this show was the love the fans gave her, the support all the 'Mania' kept flooding the actors with, which at the end gave them strength to continue. She was especially interested in the balance between wanting revenge, and that of forgiving people, which was what attracted her to this role. Of course she'd like to try everything once, but one role she particularly enjoyed was that of Secretary Ahn, as someone who helped Ha-Eun subtly, but at the end was a big factor in his 'rebirth'. And of course she loved how unique Cheon Gong-Myung was. It was all hard, in a way, but that time when Eun-Ha learns of Ha-Eun's death was certainly the hardest. At the end of the shoot, she thought she'd be relieved, but thanks to the relationship she formed with cast and crew, and the end she was mostly sad. She closes thanking all the fans, the director, writer and fellow actors.


--


- 이강주 - 소이현 (Lee Gang-Joo - So Yi-Hyun) [3:27]

buhwalsyh.jpgAs an actress, it was the kind of role she wanted to try. It was neither too heavy nor too lightweight, so she wanted to try it. The reason why she falls in love with this 'new' Shin-Hyeok is becomes she's surprised by this transformation, knowing his past personality. Of all the characters she played so far, this will be the one she'll remember the most. She thanks all the fans who tuned in every week to watch the show, and says she'll never forget their support. Since she was a fan of the show herself, she'll keep it in her memories for a long time just like all the 'Rebirth Panic.'


--


- 정진우 - 고주원 (Jung Jin-Woo - Go Ju-Won) [4:10]

buhwalgjw.jpgAt first the role was really special to him, just because of the way PD Park asked him to approach it. Of course they met before when the casting was being decided, but their second time was at a 호프 (HOF) restaurant, the first time he ever experienced a rehearsal at one of those places. Instead of telling him directions, Park just told him to think how he'd react to those situations as a man, and draw his directions from there. Go with the flow, so to speak. The PD never really told him much, but one thing he helped him with tremendously was in creating a mood, using certain gestures when they best fit the situation, so that's why he was so thankful to him, his way of working really helped him immerse himself in the character. He got the first draft of the script via an e-Book, and reading it he felt instantly a desire to star in this Drama, not only because of the many twists and turns, but because it felt like something which would help him as an actor. As an actor on the set, but as a viewer also, many of the twists which happened in the final show were something he could hardly expect. Of course he knew in general lines what would happen, but all the details in between were really a revelation for him. If he had to put himself in Jung Jin-Woo's shoes, he'd probably act the same way, despite his love for his father. One thing this show was able to do is give him strength to continue in this profession. He always tried to be honest about his performance, and always felt sorry he couldn't do more than what he ended up doing, as it felt like he didn't work hard enough. At times it was sort of embarrassing to say things like that, but because being honest about that, reflecting about his experience during this show helped him not to give up on his acting career, this show was really important. That's why in his new Drama he's trying harder, and thinks he's made a little improvement since then. And he ends thanking the fans, as despite all the problems this show made him happy. Also, I should say, with another 'confession' like this he won some points, at least with yours truly. Being honest is always the best way to go, and even though he's still has a long way to go before even considering the word 'improvement', the business needs more people who can admit their weaknesses.


--


- 강인철 - 이정길 (Kang In-Cheol - Lee Jung-Gil) [4:36]

buhwalljg.jpgBecause of the image he carries from his past roles, that of ending up as a villain at the end must have been a big shock to many people. But as someone who had to yes give hints to his true identity (slowly, one step at a time), he just tried to emphasize his life as a normal, yet successful pater familia, a loving husband and father. We then get an example of the kind of dialogue which slowly hinted at his true identity, like his remarks while playing chess about understanding your foe. He never imagined someone like that would be capable of creating an accident of those proportions all by himself, and that was perhaps the character's most alluring charm. Wrapping up things the way the character did, he thinks it's something that takes even more courage than you'd expect, because other people would have acted like cowards instead. One thing he focused on while playing the character was never changing his facial expressions, so that the minimum change, even an unfamiliar look, would have made a big difference. This is why when he eventually meets Choi Dong-Chan, In-Cheol acts as if nothing particularly strange happened, and why even when Ha-Eun finds out about everything that happened, he's still calm. It's a big fortress crumbling at the last moment, when there seems to be no hope. One of the scenes he'll always remember as an actor, and even in the future, is when Ha-Eun reveals all of In-Cheol's misdeeds in front of him. When watching this I actually noticed Lee was a little teary eyed, and thought it was just an added touch of the writer. But it was actually Lee who felt so emotional about this scene he had to control tears, which shows again what a great actor he is.


--


- 천사장 - 김윤석 (President Cheon - Kim Yoon-Seok) [4:50]

buhwalkys.jpgHe thinks this Drama will be hard to forget, not only content-wise, but also because he established a very strong relationship with all the cast and crew, feeling like a family to him for the entire shoot. His role was a sort of objective visual 'pointer' which signaled Ha-Eun's acts of revenge, in a way, which is why every time a very important development in his revenge plot happens, we always find Mr. Cheon, eating his sweet popcorns, or taking photographs. Discreet, silent, hard to notice. He never expected his character to be so popular. At first, as he was just introduced to PD Park, he didn't expect to be close to Ha-Eun until the end, but after meeting Park, he felt very strongly about his character, and wanted even more focus on him. The reason why Ha-Eun trusts Cheon so much, is because essentially they've gone through similar experiences, and he trusts him a lot more than he probably should exactly because he knows what going through those experience can do to a man. He thinks this kind of revenge Ha-Eun plots at the end makes him a victim of that desire to avenge, and people who act like him (before his final 'rebirth', that is), are often consumed by that rage losing their initial purpose. Just the fact he was able to play a character like this, oozing 사람냄새 (smell of real people) and true to life was a blessing for him, and he wonders if he'll ever be able to play something so interesting. Thinking back about the character, the saddest part was the moment when Cheon has to start using his 'partner' Hee-Soo, as he becomes a simple pawn of Ha-Eun's revenge plot. He still thinks about that part, and it makes him sad.


--


- 박희수 - 이동규 (Park Hee-Soo - Lee Dong-Gyu) [3:05]

buhwalldg.jpgAlthough as everyone knows the show was receiving praise all over Korean Media, the ratings were bad. But as someone involved in the making of the show, he never felt that kind of pressure. There was always a sense of confidence, that they had a very good product on their hands and didn't need to worry about ratings. This, in a way, will give him strength and confidence in the future. This was also a good chance to show a different side of himself, with the vibrant, almost 'cute' Hee-Soo, after playing vicious characters in films like 와일드 카드 (Wild Card), so he's thankful he got the chance to expand his range. He really had fun shooting the show, as all his partners working with him (mostly Eom Tae-Woong and Kim Yoon-Seok) have a great personality, and are really easy to work with, so they took him under their wings, and helped him a lot along the way. They joke about the scene when he runs with Eom Tae-Woong, which took an entire night to shoot. Since he's a little younger, he was a little bit faster than Eom, so controlling his speed to match his was a bit hard (jokingly). Working on the set with Kim Gab-Soo, even if it was only for a few scenes, he wanted to give him an applause, as he took simple lines and made something great out of it. Just getting the chance to act with someone so good was an honour for him.


--


- 박상철 - 주진모 (Park Sang-Cheol - Joo Jin-Mo) [3:40]

buhwalpsc.jpgThis was his first experience acting on TV, but he instantly felt that sense of teamwork between PD, writer, cast and crew. So even though he only appeared in a few scenes towards the end, he felt like was part of the team, which helped him a lot. Actually his introduction to this project was quite unusual, as the role of Park Sang-Cheol appeared only towards the end, so they didn't cast anyone in pre-production. So Kim Yoon-Seok went to the PD, and proposed to cast a friend of his. He wrote a sort of resume himself, and gave it to the PD, who accepted him without reserve, that's how Joo ended up becoming part of this show. His role was more of a trait d'union between the characters, revealing important information in crucial points of the show. So to approach the character, he just tried to find the basic sentiments he had for people like Choi Dong-Chan, who betrayed him and his mentor, and Kang In-Cheol. Even though his strongest sentiment was anger, his role was more that of a 'rational gangster', even though it might be hard to believe at first. This is why Park Sang-Cheol always looks at things objectively, and ends up making the decision he makes (a gangster in other films would have killed Choi Dong-Chan on the spot, for example). If there's anything he was a little sad about, that was the fact there wasn't really any time in the script writing process to define what kind of laughing the writer wanted. There'd be just 'laughing', but like he says, there's several different kind of laughter, from a little grin to a big laugh. So he always had to ask questions to the writer regarding that.


--


- 경기도 - 이대연 (Gyung Gi-Do - Lee Dae-Yeon) [3:29]

buhwalggd.jpgIf there's anything setting this Drama apart from the others he starred in is the amount of love and support from the fans he received, to a level he never imagined. In playing his character, he looked at Chief Gyung as a sort of father figure when dealing with Gang-Hyeok, as Geon-Ha was his role model, so he was playing a sort of surrogate for him. When he was thinking of how to portray his character post-accident, he just thought of doing it comfortably at first. But then the thought of basically becoming a character without any important secret to reveal came to mind, so he tried to focus on something else. And that was the way he makes Ha-Eun understands and forgives him. He's both offering comfort, helping him and giving him strength, which gave his character a new meaning. He jokes that one ad-lib he created (that 'I've been resting for too long' the first time he comes back to the station) was edited out in the original broadcast. One interesting episode is sometimes while staff members were running around him, he fell asleep a few times when his character was in bed. Having done theater, films and TV Dramas, there's a limit to the reaction you get on TV, opposed to the other two media. But this show and the support of all its fans changed it all for him, and in some ways made its success possible.


--


- 안재훈 - 조재완 (Ahn Jae-Hoon - Jo Jae-Wan) [4:37]

buhwaljjw.jpgSince he knew PD Park since he was in school, he's more a father to him than a director. This show will probably mark a turning point in his career, not only because his character fit really well with him, but because he thinks thanks to it he matured as an actor. Comparing Secretary Ahn to his personality, they're not completely the same, but there's some similarities. Although on the net some people were joking about it, he and Eom Tae-Woong were the first to notice some of their dialogue together sounded like a couple talking to each other (some netizens jokingly hoped Ha-Eun would end up with Secretary Ahn, and not Eun-Ha). The most impressive scenes were mostly dealing with Ahn helping Ha-Eun behind the scenes, like when he whispers the identity of someone Shin-Hyeok is supposed to know. Just reading the script, he was impressed a person like that could even exist, so he really loved the character.


--

- 김수철 - 고명환 (Kim Soo-Cheol - Go Myung-Hwan) [5:04]

buhwalksc.jpgWhen he suffered that accident on the set of 해신 (Emperor of the Sea), he even thought about stopping his acting activities, just to concentrate on his job as a TV MC and comedian. But then he met with the makers of the show, and Park, looking at a scar on his face, remarked that playing a detective would fit with the image he had now. As this was the first time he really was asked to do 'serious' acting, this was a sort of rebirth for him as an actor as well. Working with Eom Tae-Woong, up until Episode 1 and 2 he was pretty calm, but then from Episode 3 he started trying his best to make him crack up. And the key here was that Eom's jokes were brutal, but he was really confident, so that was even funnier. At first he adapted to the role pretty well, thinking that he was doing ok at playing a detective. But as the role got increasingly serious, it was only thanks to the PD's constant determination, asking him to try a little better, give it all, that he was able to get through it. He then talks about how much Kim Gab-Soo -- who worked with him in Emperor of the Sea as well -- helped him understand how to act one on one, and understand how to reach your limitation as an actor, and sometimes go beyond that. He jokes that PD Park carried around a box with 5,000 Won bills he'd give to actors when they did well, but up to that point he was pretty stingy with that. But during the scene he did with Ha-Eun at his 'secret apartment', when he realizes the truth, that was the first time he got that bill from the PD, and he still has that bill at home. Through that moment, he learned what kind of acting he wanted, when he kept saying to try harder.


--


- 이태준 - 김갑수 (Lee Tae-Joon - Kim Gab-Soo) [3:21]

buhwalltj.jpgHis biggest reason for starring in this was trying to find a way to show a different side of the 'villain' from what he acted in Emperor of the Sea. Going from a villain in an Historical Drama to a Modern Piece had to show a kind of change, so he was interested in finding new ways to define that kind of role. He jokes about the nicknames he received from netizens, and describes a little his character. Talking about the 'dwarf and the giant' line from Episode 16, he explains a little his meaning, and comments on the difficulties of the role when he had to balance between his role as a father and as a politician.


--


- 최동찬 - 김규철 (Choi Dong-Chan - Kim Gyu-Cheol) [5:51]

buhwalcdc.jpgAt first he really didn't think this role would end up becoming so important, just by reading the script and looking at the amount of scenes he was in. But looking at the public's reaction, he sort of was inspired to focus even more on the little details, to make those few moments leave a lasting impression on the viewer. All those little touches also meant the twisting of his mouth, and his other colourful reactions. At the beginning he just did it himself, as a sort of ad-lib, but as he saw the writer asking for the same in later episodes, and the PD as well, he realized maybe he was doing things the right way, so continued with the little 'facial games'. That added to the fun of shooting this Drama, as the viewers seemed to enjoy his facial contortions as well. He didn't really look at any other film or character to be influenced by it, he just tried to give a little colour to the acts Choi Dong-Chan commits, even at the cost of going overboard, to make people understand why a person like that might feel like such a danger. He was suffering a little typecasting after he made it big with his role in his first Drama, after years in Daehak-Ro. So since PD Park was a friend of his, he was interested in a new challenge, no matter how big or small the role was. When he got injured, he was really worried about the Drama he had to shoot and their schedule, not so much about recovering, as Korean TV Drama schedules are notoriously difficult to handle when you're injured. Hell, even when you're not. He just went to PD Park, and said he'd do anything even if it involved sitting down -- which is why his role changed in the second half. He felt sorry for this accident, but loved the fact the writer and PD gave him the chance to continue arranging the show around his injuries.

무직 비디오 (Music Video) [4:02]
김태훈 (Kim Tae-Hoon) - 무죄 (Innocent)

Uses the opening song, which in some strange twist I learned to love (I wouldn't touch songs like this with a ten foot pole, usually, but go figure). A bit heavy on spoilers, but a nice way to revisit some of the best moments of the show. Thousands of 'Rebirth Panic' and I will end up associating this song with the show, forever.

엔딩 모음 (Finale Collection) [10:30]

Like the title says, this is a collection of all the final cliffhangers of every episode. Of course you've seen 'highlights' section before, but this is a little different. Kind of fun reliving all the final moments of the show. Of course don't even think of watching this if you haven't seen the show before.

포토 갤러리 (Photo Gallery)

Divided into two:
- 현장스캐치 (Location Sketch), beautiful pictures from the set, including the actors posing with the staff. Some are in b&w and quite... artistic? A few of these ended up in the final few seconds of the 24th Episode.
- 스틸 이미지 (Still Images), mostly pics taken from the website and other promotional stills, but of course the quality is much better here.


If this will turn out to be your first ever Korean TV Drama, it certainly won't be a choice you'll regret. Of course then the problem will be living up to this kind of quality, as it would be like going to the theater the first time and watching Citizen Kane. Rebirth is an unforgettable show, not only for being this good, but for doing all that within the limitations imposed by the new PPL-minded industry, influenced more and more by the lucrative contracts looming on the horizon for Korean Wave bait. But thanks to Kim Ji-Woo's imagination, Park Chan-Hong's vision, and the memorable performances of a great ensemble cast, this show has become the object of cult in a matter of months.

Simply put, this DVD is a marvel. I haven't seen so much attention to details given to a DVD in years, and it shows how much love was put in this project just by taking a look at the interviews. This is not just hours of special features thrown in there because they were available. Nearly every minute of supplement material you'll find here is crucial to understand the themes of the show, especially the many interviews with cast and crew. Along with the 다모 (Damo) Director's Cut, one of the best Korean TV Drama releases on DVD of all time. And certainly a must see, especially if you've never seen a TV Drama, or still think it's all love triangles and Cinderellas.

RATINGS

SHOW: 9.5
VIDEO: 8
AUDIO: 8
SUBTITLES: 7.5
EXTRA FEATURES: 9.5
VALUE FOR MONEY: 9
----------------------------
OVERALL (Show Rating is Counted Twice): 8.71

--

끝은 곧 시작입니다... (The end is just a new beginning...)


» Posted by X at April 12, 2006 08:00 PM
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Reader Comments

X, that pic of Joo Jin-moo, that's not Park Sang-chul, rite? That's Yang Man-chul, the guy who carried Gang-hyuk to Suh Jae-soo's house.

» Posted by thunderbolt at April 12, 2006 10:25 PM

Nah, it's Park Sang-Cheol. It's just a bad photo.

» Posted by x at April 13, 2006 04:30 AM

Gooday X,

Do the commentaries/extras have English subtitles; sorry if I missed it, I searched for the string 'subtitle' - I didn't want to read too much before I view this show
Thanks,
Graeme

» Posted by Graeme at April 13, 2006 09:43 AM

nah. No subs on any of the extras.

» Posted by x at April 13, 2006 10:03 AM

This drama blew me away. And reading your DVD review--all the commentaries, etc.--is bringing it all back.

I can't wait to watch it again (gotta get my hands on this Director's Cut) and catch the details I missed the first time. I noticed and had my own li'l theories about the colors, Guernica, light vs. shadow...but I had no idea even the numbers on the dice were significant! dayum.

Awesome reviews such as these are really invaluable for non-Korean speakers like myself. Thanks, X.

» Posted by melusine at April 15, 2006 08:07 PM

X ... my copy of the Director's Cut is on the way. I think that's all I need to tell you about how I feel about this show. One of the best ever. Thanks again, X.

» Posted by cyberman at May 8, 2006 04:02 PM

really love your review, albeit that it seems awfully long, it just made me appreciate the drama much much more...

» Posted by fz. at March 26, 2007 09:26 AM

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