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Big Stars Appearing in Documentaries

2009/04/15 | Permalink | Source

By Han Sang-hee
Staff Reporter

Documentaries have been regarded as serious and educational, and only recently did viewers and producers alike appreciate the impact of these programs. Many have examined interesting topics ranging from dinosaurs to polar bears and noodles, and now cameras have turned toward local stars like Myung Se-bin, Kim Myung-min and soccer star Park Ji-sung.

Myeong has been out of the spotlight since her marriage and divorce, but she reappeared as a gisaeng, or Korean female entertainer, with the documentary "Gisaengjeon" last Sunday on SBS.

The actress was transformed into a beautiful gisaeng in the program, complete with the hanbok - Korean traditional outfit - exquisite hairstyles, accessories and make-up.

"They had to hide from the public, despite their rich history in art, tradition and culture. I wanted to bring back their story and re-evaluate them", the producer of the program, Jung Gu-il, said.

The documentary touched the graceful yet tragic lives of gisaeng, comparable with Japanese geisha. While geisha culture still exists in Japan, Korea has lost gisaeng culture, and so the program focused on the meaning of the culture and what could be done to bring it back. Myeong successfully worked as the narrator and depicted the life of gisaeng from start to finish.

While SBS offered the tragic lives of gisaeng, MBC brought the touching story of actor Kim Myung-min with the documentary "Celebrity Biography- Kim Myung-min Was Not There". Kim is a top star now, appearing in popular dramas like "Beethoven Virus", which won him the top prize at the 2008 Korea Drama Festival, and movies "Open City" (2007) and "Wide Awake" (2007). But through the program, viewers were able to realize that he did not taste success immediately.

The documentary helped show Kim in a more friendly light, as he's portrayed rather harsh characters, including a coldhearted doctor, a mean yet emotional conductor and a police officer.

"The objective was to present the journey of Kim as an actor: his passion, his failures and finally his success and hope", one of the staff members of the program said through a statement.

Indeed, the documentary touched viewers, especially when Kim starting crying when reminiscing about his difficult times as an aspiring actor.

"I was never lazy, not one second. I prefer the word actor over star", Kim said during the program.

It seemed viewers appreciated the program as well, as viewer ratings hit 10 percent, a high number considering the time slot, and demanded reruns on MBC's Web site.

Riding on the popularity of Kim's documentary, MBC now offers the life of Park Ji-sung of Manchester United through its documentary "Do You Know Park Ji-sung?" The winger has never opened up to the press regarding his life and training in England, and so the documentary will offer fans exclusive footage of the 29-year-old player.

"I want to play soccer, but I don't want to become famous. I just want to be normal", Park says during the program.

The camera follows Park everywhere, from training, English language instruction, personal training and even to a birthday party his close friends Patrice Evra and Carlos Tevez throw him.

Along with interviews and footage of the soccer star, MBC also managed to carry out an interview with Sir Alex Ferguson, the manager of Manchester United. Ferguson speaks about Park and his strategies in his first interview with the Korean press.

This documentary will help soccer and Park's fans learn more about him, from his personal thoughts and hobbies to his childhood, while other viewers will have the chance to look into the popular yet lonely life he goes through every day just to fulfill his dreams as a soccer player.

MBC's "Do You Know Park Ji-sung?" will air April 19 at 10:35 p.m.

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