I first saw Lee Young Ae in the movie Last Present, also starring Lee Jung Jae (whose most recent movie was Typhoon--it's unfortunate that the movie was not that great, according to the critics, but I'd still want to see it). Last Present remains one of my favorite Korean movies. I have her One Fine Spring Day, but I have not yet watched it; it's supposed to be a downer of a movie, with a lot of arguing between the couple (not to mention the break-up).
Some photos from Last Present:
I won't try writing an introduction for Dae Jang Geum, otherwise I'll probably sound like the American who's the president of YesAsia when he is advertising the YesAsia DVD edition of Dae Jang Geum. Is Jang Geum the epitome of the Confucian lady? She is certainly lady-like in the drama, although one can debate whether by Confucian standards she is 'feminine' enough (that is a really chauvinistic Confucian might say she is too active). But even though it's Chosun Korea, which was as Confucian (in that patriarchal way) as Ming China, if not more so, being a doctor appears to be not out of the realm of possibility for women. She shows great devotion to her parents, teachers, friends, and of course to the king. (Who has many concubines, surprise surprise, and falls in love with Jang Geum, wishing to make her another concubine. Tsk tsk.)
I should look into the class system for Korea; I'm not sure if there was anything comparable in China after a certain date, but I could be wrong. Anyways, Lee Young Ae portrays Jang Geum with elegance, grace, simplicity, and sweetness. Are there any weaknesses to the character? Does she handle getting justice for her mother and for her teacher in the right way? She certainly doesn't force the evil Kitchen Lady to take her own life; that woman didn't intentionally do so either, since she was losing her mind, and was reaching out for a ribbon. Was that divine intervention that lead to her death? I'm not sure--that would be a rather 'vindictive' notion of divine justice. Jang Geum did show mercy to her enemies, and sought their confession and repentance.
Dae Jang Geum website. Official photo gallery. Some of my favorite pictures from the official gallery--what's a period drama without hanboks? --
She looks very good in hanbok!
Hrm, some videos I should try to download if they are still up:
Official fansite. Hong Kong fansite. Blog about Dae Jang Geum. Japanese fansite/board.
Lee Young Ae, in a modernized hanbok, with Park Chan-wook at the Venice Film Festival(?):
Thanks to leeyoungae.seesaa.net. (See article for photo credits)
Some pictures of Lee Young Ae (in Tsuen Wan) while she was visiting Hong Kong. (Thanks to the Lee Young Ae Hong Kong Fan Club.)
"Lee Young Ae Walks Red Carpet in Berlin"
Some of her commercials can be found here. Listen to her soft and sweet voice.
Links to photos:
From the Rotten Tomatoes forum.
More photos here.