Homage to Winter Sonata
In celebration of Dramafever acquiring this classic drama, we pay homage to Winter Sonata, in photos. Winter Sonata, along with Summer Scent, The Legend, and one or two Japanese dramas, has perhaps the most beautiful cinematography of any drama ever made. Technology and production values have drastically improved in recent years, but oddly, the most beautifully-shot dramas to this day are some early 2000 ones, with the exception of Secret Garden and perhaps Dr. Champ in 2010.
The camera used in Winter Sonata is just exquisite, as is the camera work. The angles, the cutting between shots, the loving, intimate way in which this entire story was filmed, and most of all the lighting - I could rave forever about how light was used in this drama. The sets are beautiful too, utlizing snow as a constant backdrop and recurring motif. In Winter Sonata, a perfect combination of story-telling and directorial/production elements came together to create a fairy tale that leaves almost all other dramas behind. There were so many moments which make one catch one's breath: the way the drama could make absolute magic out of a girl's hair flying into a boy's face on the bus, or Choi Ji Woo smiling at Bae Yong Joon as the camera lingers on her incredibly expressive face, or the way he can look at her with such intense, focused longing..Sunlight and snow are recurring motifs, but the drama doesn't rely on just those - reflections are also significant, and firelight, fog, and physical spaces all take their turn to underscore certain themes or emotions going on.
Part of the reason behind this homage is to make anyone who hasn't seen this drama yet decide to watch it. Many people are frightened away from the Four Seasons dramas by their reputation as melodramatic tearjerkers. Which made me postpone watching Winter Sonata until several years into my drama-watching career. But when I did start Winter Sonata, I began loving it within literally minutes. It's an incredbly warm and tender and lovely and convincing love story, it's funny, it's wistful, it's compelling and well-written, and it is beautiful to look at with a perfect soundtrack. It's so rare to find a drama in which both the leads are fully grown-up people, able to deal with situations in an adult manner, and in which both are settled with decent jobs and the respect of their peers. Winter Sonata is still one of only a handful of dramas in which I was able to fully respect both leads. It's also not nearly as tragic as one might be led to believe, for various reasons, one of which is that the leads both have a well-developed sense of humor and there's often a lovely lightness to them when they're togther, which counterbalances some of the inevitable angst. People also often assume that the ending is tragic...to which all I can say is, please watch it before making assumptions. This is my favorite of the Four Seasons dramas, and for the record, I don't enjoy all of them (Winter Sonata and Summer Scent are my favorites), so if you tried one of the others and didn't like it, don't let that prejudice you. Watch Winter Sonata, and don't miss out.