Saturday, January 23, 2021

KBS Drama Special 2020: Stealing Sleep/While You're Away

 This was a cute little story about meeting again and learning to open up.
The narration mixed both past and the present, but adding to confusion - also imaginative scenarios and reality. I wrote "confusion" but it's not really it. Once the drama establishes such narrative technique, all flows smoothly and scenes don't look weird or disjointed. The whole episode feels rather like a whisper, a soft, muffled sound a sleeping person can make.

Hongju is a bright and persistent girl who dreams of becoming a hairdresser. Her good personality doesn't save her from troubles though and anything unpleasant life might throw her way. So one day she is evicted from the goshiwon she was staying in and temporarily hides at the hair salon, but is ratted out by another temp worker. With 4000 won to her name and nowhere to go, she makes a desperate move - she goes to the house of her ex.

He works night shifts at the convenience store, so at the beginning this looks like a great deal for her. She can hide at his place when he's not around. However life does not always works as we want and she gets busted. Inam is reluctant to let her stay, however he changes his mind after helping a girl who ran away from a stalker and came to his store. After the initial awkwardness, they dated for "six seasons" and then broke up afterall, the two of them come to some arrangements regarding the living together.
Thanks to the retrospection and careful script, we learned how they broke up and why. During one meeting in the past Inam said they should break up. And Hongju just said "OK" and left. This was unexpected because it was obvious Inam did not want to part ways. All he wanted to be let into her world, but Hongju guarded her secret troubles so well, that she'd rather be alone than allow someone else to share them. And this was exactly what Inam wanted - to share her thoughts, often wondering in the past what was she thinking about precisely because she did not share.

Hongju thought she should not burden him or other people with her own problems, some stemming from family ties, as she thought it was unfair for her to fund her brother's tuition even though she herself had no place to live. But instead confiding in her boyfriend, she chose to close it all off. And Inam realized that he needs such a ray of warmth and light as Hongju, as he can be withered and prickly towards other people sometimes. Casting Kim Bora and Dong Ha worked like a miracle here and they brought full dimensions to their characters that were easy to understand even when no words were spoken.

I liked the feel of this episode very much, it was a small note holding the melody of mundane.