Thoughts On: Fermentation Family

Oh, I’d totally forgotten I had this sitting in my draft folder. It’s the last one of Archeological Finds aka old posts from my LJ. Somehow 2012 now feels like a lot further away than it truly is. The promo material for Fermentation Family was really uninspiring for a drama with such a pretty setting, even the posters were bland. It really deserved much better.

The background of this drama is a traditional Korean restaurant that is famous with its Kimchi. Through the joyful and touching stories of the restaurant family members, who are not that perfect in their lives, and the variety of stories of the restaurant guests with all kinds of characteristics, the drama suggests a direction of a heart-moving ‘alternative family’.

Set within the famous Korean restaurant Chunjiin (천지인/Heaven, Earth, Man), known especially for their kimchi dish. Two daughters (Park Jin-Hee, Lee Min-Young) who get ownership of their father’s restaurant, and a rough and tumble gangster (Song Il-Kook), who grew up as an orphan, begins to work at the restaurant and sets about looking for a piece of his past. Together with the other restaurant employees, long-time customers and a growing circle of friends, they work towards their individual goals while finding warmth and family through their sharing of food and support of each other.

LJ 8th Apr, 2012
I just finished Fermentation Family and thus have a huge grin on my face. It’s one of those dramas you either get or you don’t. There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground. Dangermousie thought it was the most boring thing ever and I can understand why. 🙂 The pace is slow and lingering and in the begining it feels like nothing much is happening. But it pays to go on as almost magically you are drawn into the story and it’s characters. There is so much warmth and heart in it.

From the moment I read the re-caps of the first few episodes I knew this would be a drama I’d love and the more I watched the more I felt like I was sitting beside a comforting, open fire warming me to the core. It made me laugh, it made me cry and it frequently put a grin wide enough to crack my jaw on my face. Somehow it very much resembles my most belowed j-drama Yasashii Jikan with it’s diverse cast of regulars and visitors and it’s understanding of human failings. Yeah, I know it’s sort of naive in it’s take but I can’t help but to be moved by it. The big sap that I am.

Fermentation Family is by the same team that gave us Mawang and Resurrection. In the begining it doesn’t seem to have much in common with those two but the further on you get with the story the more you realise the similarities. The wonderful and poetic cinematography is there, the way they frame the shots to underline the scenes just a little bit more without being ‘in you face’ with it. The lovely score. The diverse and in many cases quite fascinating characters you get to know little by little. Some of them are truly despicable but in the end you still can’t quite bring yourself to hate them. The mystery and it’s slow reveal. The themes of wrongdoing, revenge, guilt, forgiveness and atonement. Only, here the emphasis is firmly on the forgiveness. Forgiving oneself and forgiving those who have wronged and/or hurt you. Hating, whether it is oneself or someone else is much harder and ultimately it’ll just wear you down.

In Mawang the avenger is already too fare gone in the road to darkness and it’s too late to turn back. The ‘help’ did not reach him in time. In Resurrection we see the avenger in the making and the toll it takes on one’s soul. But in that case he is not without people to help him turn back before it’s too late and as the title says, it is possible to be resurrected/reborn. In Fermentation Family the avenger is not born at all as by the time he finds out why he has been living in hell, his soul has already been saved and the moment of turning towards hatred and revenge has passed. 🙂 Though he still does strugle with his feelings and the decision.

Besides atonement and forgiveness FF is all about the healing propensities of making a good meal and eating it, preferably with friends and loved ones. This is definitely a drama NOT to watch when hungry! *g* It also fed my soul.

Park Sun-Joo – Heaven, Earth & Man / 천지인 ~ ode to delicious food ^^

J-Cera – 이깟 사랑

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