The surprisingly engaging yet low key 태양은 가득히 (The Full Sun) has proven itself the perfectly satisfying close to an insanely packed semester. The misleading DramaFever title, Beyond the Clouds, unfortunately suggests the kind of supernatural sentimentalism and maudlin in which Stairway to Heaven and some of the Four Seasons dramas are usually awash. Thankfully 태양은 가득히 (The Full Sun) is a much better story told in a brisk yet leisurely set of 16 chapters with just the right degree of dramatic momentum.
Once you finish the story, you discover that the title translation The Full Sun is much more poetically à propos play on words; it suggests the perceived or experienced periodicity of an ordinarily constant phenomenon.
I recognize elements of some favorites in this story, partly owing to a familiarity with recurring themes and plot devices in KDrama. Yet 태양은 가득히 (The Full Sun) is curiously devoid of narrative clichés (birth secrets, candy/chaebol-prince dichotomy and its close companion warm-her/cold-him pairings), and generally eschews hackneyed visual tricks (you know: the ever popular ships-in-the-night near miss slo-mo, the visually cascading kiss/embrace – also in slo-mo, the piggy back ride etc.) The standard narrative motifs that do appear in the story are deployed judiciously and in the service of the story and not — as so often happens in short contemporary kdramas– as mere expediency to mask the storyteller’s slothful complacency.
Among the narrative and visual elements I recognized in 태양은 가득히 (The Full Sun) were a bit of Bad Guy, a little Nice Guy (aka An Innocent Man), a dash of Empire of Gold and Midas, a dollop of City Hunter and some Heartless City, as well as a soupçon of This Winter the Wind Blows, all with a fruity bouquet of Lovers, slightly sweetened with a sprinkling of optimism. The narrative and cinematographic flavors of these stories intermingle smoothly in 태양은 가득히 (The Full Sun) without every overpowering the concoction and the result is, as I stated before, an engaging and fulfilling story that is also quite visually pleasing.
Yoon Kye Sang (윤계상) and Han Ji Hye (한지혜) in the lead roles are rather wonderful and wholly captivating in the story’s firmly mellow key. They both posses a bewitching sort of beauty… Yes, I know I should be used to this in KDrama by now, but the endless variety and breadth of beauty and charisma KDrama has to offer still rather takes me aback. If I were given to generalizations, I would say that Korea is overabundant in beautiful people [actors], perhaps even by an uncommon statistical proportion. But I am not given to generalizations and I occasionally remember that I only get to see whatever is in the direction the camera is pointing.
More on this drama later, perhaps…