It's Okay, That's Love—fragmentation


In It's Okay, That's Love, I caught a very nice piece of artistic symbolism. I wish I could do a video clip, but I've saved a still image. If I put it in here, it will show, even if I moved down to write a description, spoiler-style, so I will link to the image.

view the image here

In Episode 13, about 49 minutes in, when the writer Jae Yeol has just started to wonder about the existence of Kang Woo, he's talking to him on the phone, and walks up to some window shutters with a design of triangular cut-outs and opens them a bit, but then just looks through and they show him from the outside, framed by one of the openings. He's looking for the girlfriend/doctor Hye Soo, who has gone downstairs to talk to his friend.

Just a few minutes earlier, she had seen the jigsaw puzzle of them that their friend from the house had given to him, for explaining that mental illness just messed up a small percentage of a person's mind, for a while, not all of their life. Fragments.

So he's showing through this triangle, fragmented. The image of Kang Woo, riding no-hands, eyes closed, on a bicycle, is put side-by-side. The shirt he's wearing shows him as the center of a starburst of fragmentation-looking lightning bolts. It seems to show not just fragmentation—though in color and shape, they do kind of match the triangular window—but maybe life and power and pulsation. In that scene/imagining, he seems strong and confident.


Third viewing, February 2017, I noticed more triangles, from late episode 13 (I think) on.

After Hae-Soo finds out about the problem, after he has asked her to marry him and said she loves him, her earrings and finger rings start to change with her mood and confidence in various scenes, it seems. I might think it was nothing, just coincidence, except that they show her ears, or her fingers, pretty clearly. And in one scene there's a glint of light off a triangular earring. So I could be wrong, but it would be quite enough to write a paper on in a film class. :-)

I think they're to show her fluctuation between confusion and hopefulness, fragmentation (the triangle was already used) and strength (a circle of pearls is... whatever the circle represents, fully reinforced).

The first triangle I noticed. Above that is a cirle with one pearl, seems to be.

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These were in the same scene. A pearl on one sice, and a triangle on the other. She was talking to her sweetie, newly discovered to have a serious problem. The pearl shows when she's turned toward him, and the triangle when she's turned to look away.

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This braceles shows in a scene with Jang Jae-Yeol talking about their temporary (maybe permanent) separation, and later when she's talking to her mom about leaving on sabbatical, and subtly leaving open the idea that they might re-unite when she returns. I didn't see her wear it in scenes between.

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Another scene—triangle in one side, an open diamond shape/square in the other. So it's open like the circles, but four points.

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This pearl ring seems the strongest circular symbol. It will be gone a while, and return on the other hand later. They seem to be carefully showing the hands, in those three different states.

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They showed it off slowly and at length. And in another shot, too:

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Pearl in one side, empty lower piercing in the other.

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Odd one! Open hole (like a circle) but hexagonal. Mathies say the more angles there are in a figure, the closer it is to a circle. There were four sides earlier; now six.

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The triangle is back. What if we miss it? They made sure to get a good hard light reflecting of it, just in case.

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Glinty triangle gone, pearl back:

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Pearl ring back, on the other hand, with a solid circle now, too.

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In the final episode, 2/3 of the way through, her sabbatical is over and she's spending the last day in Okiinawa. No earrings whatsoever. For the rest of the show, no triangles, just one little pearl in an upper hole sometimes, none in the tomato fight, and two pearls showing on the only side they show in the happiest ice-cream-cone scene.

I don't think those are coincidental. If they are, I won't be the first human to read meaning into chance happenings. Of all the earrings in all the Korean dramas, though, these are simple shapes, simple designs, and changing with the emotions of someone who's already in a triangles-mean-something scenario. :-)


Korean Drama Notes Drama Wiki page on It's Okay, That's Love