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The series slap of the moment is Pachinko: “An initiatory journey that takes you to the guts” – News Séries

Family fresco on generations of Korean immigrants, Pachinko is a dramatic series of great poetry. AlloCiné was able to talk to the team about this nugget available on Apple TV+.

A must-watch new original on Apple TV+, Pachinko is a sublime drama series that chronicles the hopes and dreams of four generations of a Korean immigrant family as they leave their country and tirelessly seek to survive and survive. flourish. The series created by Soo Hugh and directed by Kogonada and Justin Chon bridges the life of Sunja, which begins in early 20th century South Korea, and that of Solomon, her grandson, in the 1980s.

AlloCiné was able to talk with creator and showrunner Soo Hugh, producers Theresa Kang and Michael Ellenberg, directors Justin Chon and Kogonada and actors Yuh-Jung Youn, Jin Ha, Anna Sawai, Minha Kim and Lee Min-ho, to understand how universal the plot of this family fresco is.

AlloCiné: What is this series about for you?

Theresa Kang: For me, it’s really an emotional story about family, about tradition passed down through generations. What is also put forward is the notion of the freedom of the choices we make in life. How these choices have a determining effect on your destiny and that of those who are dear to you. And how difficult it is sometimes to let others choose their own destiny, without your interference, especially when it comes to your children. This is a series that will make you vibrate.

Michael Ellenberg: It really is a universal story. We all have a “Sunja” within us, or that we know. When we “pitched” the idea of ​​making a series of this book to various Hollywood companies, everyone ended up crying, so much this story of immigrants, injustice, prejudice, can only touch the human soul of ordinary mortals.

Yuh-Jung: It’s a look at Korea’s past. A past that has had dark periods. People who have survived these difficult years often still have very dark souls. This is a story for current generations, to show them how we had to survive to be able to share in this chaotic time.


Jin Ha: It’s a series about the traumas, but also the triumphs, of several generations of individuals who, in the end, managed to survive despite all the challenges they had to face. It’s also a series that shows how the choices you make in life affect future generations. I imagine that this will cause the audience to review or reassess their relationships with their ancestors but also those who will follow in their footsteps. Everything is linked in life, everything hangs together, so you have to be careful about your choices which always have consequences, sometimes full of surprises, for the better but also for the worse.

Anna Sawai: I agree with Jin Ha. For me, who spoke with my mother about the traumas of the generation that preceded me, it was important to understand that eventually things change but that it takes time. I hope that a series like this invites dialogue between generations and that they learn something from each other. For me it’s about finding the courage in yourself to continue to follow your dreams despite the rejections we all face at various times in our lives. There is always light on the other side of the tunnel…

Justin Chon: It’s a universal truth about the search for identity and how you struggle in life to find and maintain it. It is also a lesson on the sacrifices we make to move forward on the path of life. Sometimes we have to leave things behind in order to move forward. It is also a study on the notion of “loss”: the loss of a loved one, the loss of one’s country. How beyond all this, what remains is the family. That’s what keeps you alive: the family spirit.

Kogonada: It’s really a series about the human experience that we all have, with its laughter and with its tears. It’s a series that makes you more alive than ever.


Soo Hugh: Above all it is a human epic. I didn’t just want to do a Korean history show. History is, of course, a character, but for me, it is the study of the human condition that matters to me more than anything. I really wanted to make you “feel” what the characters on our show are going through. It was important that it was a visceral and tactile series. Besides, this story of immigrants is a horror story given all that our various protagonists go through.

I also hope that after the successes of Parasite and Squid Game, the public will discover another face of Korea and its people. It’s amazing how streamers, like Apple, are no longer afraid to do shows of this size, with subtitles. This proves that we have entered a new era where everyone can identify with the other, despite their cultural, religious or other differences.

Minha Kim: It’s a painting of the human soul that goes with resilience to move forward in life, keeping the past in mind but not getting stuck in that past. You can do anything in life if you know how to keep your focus and if you are tenacious.

Lee Minho: Thanks to technology we are all connected today. We can all laugh and cry together. This series shows that we are one big human family and that we need to protect each other. United we can change the world and the course of history.

I also hope that after the successes of Parasite and Squid Game, the public will discover another face of Korea and its people. It’s amazing how streamers, like Apple, are no longer afraid to do shows of this size, with subtitles. This proves that we have entered a new era where everyone can identify with the other, despite their cultural, religious or other differences.

AlloCiné: What were the various challenges encountered in successfully producing this epic series?

Anna Sawai: For me, it was necessary to confront my own hesitations with regard to the society in which we live and which always seems to judge others without objectivity. I lived and worked in Japan for a long time and suffered from sexism. It’s not always easy to be able to turn the page…

Jin Ha: I had to speak Japanese in this series and I didn’t speak it at all. It was therefore quite a challenge to manage to make people believe that I was bilingual in Japanese.


Soo Hug: This series is taken from Min Jin Lee’s bestseller and it was not easy to draw a series from it with a complex plot but sufficiently accessible and understandable for everyone. It is also not always easy to put “in pictures” literary thoughts, also intellectual, even spiritual. A screenplay does not look like a novel. It is therefore necessary to know how to choose the words which allow to set in motion the emotions described. It’s a real headache.

Especially since I didn’t want it to be just a historical show but rather a story of various human journeys and their final destinations. It was an intense experience for me and it took me almost four years to get there. Especially since I completely identified with this story, which resembles that of my parents and my grandparents. The editing of the series was also a key moment with its own challenges.

As you will see, the series goes from one historical era to another, within each episode. It was therefore not easy to find the right combination, the right balance between the various sequences to be edited. Until the end I was haunted by doubt, by the fear of not being able to mount this series with skill. Fortunately, it was a team effort where everyone gave their all to overcome all these challenges.

Yuh-Jung: It wasn’t too difficult to play “Sunja” because like her, I have two sons that I raised alone. The script was precise and the book helped me understand her even better. She is a woman of incredible strength and great determination.

Justin Chon: After reading the book and the script, I was immediately convinced of the importance of this project. But it was not always easy to set it up. What is certain is that the time we had to film this epic series was a challenge. Given this production, we should have had even more time to film it, but we got there in the end.


Kogonada: It was an ambitious project and we took a lot of risks to complete it. Logistics and casting weren’t easy to cover. I agree with Justin, whatever the budget and whatever the shooting time, you always want to film more, explore this or that character in more depth. The race for time is really what stresses you out the most during filming.

Therasa Kang: It was not easy to make a series with three different languages, between Korean, Japanese and English. But it was necessary to respect the spirit of the book. To sell our series as well as possible, we had to have a very precise strategy. This was to find key employees in each appointment who were Asian, or of color, or who were relatives.

It was necessary to touch the sensitivity of the DNA of the decision-makers. It wasn’t easy but I think we got there. Incidentally, Apple TV+ immediately jumped at the chance to fund the series and we were so thrilled to work with them. I was going to forget to mention the hours we spent doing ultra-thorough historical research in order to be as faithful as possible to the reality of what our characters experience on screen. In the end, we had more than twenty historians who participated in the filming to make sure that everything was completely authentic.

Michael Ellenberg: Both of Therasa and I had a personal connection to this book. For my part, I am the son of an immigrant who grew up in Nazi Germany. I grew up in the USA but with a father who had spent time in Korea during the war in 1950-1953. We also knew it wouldn’t be an easy project, especially since we started working on it in 2018, long before the success of the Korean film Parasite. But luckily we believed in ourselves to achieve our ends. This is the result. Pachinko is an initiatory journey that takes you to the guts.

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