Masterpiece alert! Pachinko, the new original creation on Apple TV+, is on track to be one of the best, if not the best series of 2022. We tell you why you shouldn’t miss it.
WHAT DOES IT TALK ABOUT ?
The hopes and dreams of four generations of a Korean immigrant family as they leave their country and tirelessly seek to survive and thrive. Told from Sunja’s perspective, the story is a bridge between Sunja’s life, which begins in early 20th century South Korea, and that of Solomon, her grandson, in the 1980s.
The first three episodes of Pachinko are available on Apple TV+. The rest of the season is broadcast on the platform at the rate of one episode per week. Episodes seen: 8/8.
WELL WORTH A LOOK ?
Adapted from the best-selling book of the same name by Min Jin Lee, Pachinko is on track to be among the best series of 2022. This life-size family fresco, which follows four generations of a Korean immigrant family from the early XXème siècle until the 1980s, is produced and directed by Kogonada, who shocked us at Cannes with After Yang, and Justin Chon, whose film Blue Bayou received the audience award at Deauville.
Their combined talents bring an authentic vision and a sublime aesthetic to this moving and epic story that takes us on a journey between Korea, Japan and the United States. Through complex and endearing characters, it is a true story of resilience, hope, love and conviction against a backdrop of war, peace, mourning, business and tradition that is offered to us with great generosity.
The writing of screenwriter Soo Hugh (The Killing, The Terror, See), with the help of poet, author and translator EJ Koh, discusses the conflicts between Korean and Japanese cultures, family pressures and the illusion of the American dream, is as instructive as it is intimate and calls upon universal themes that will be able to touch the greatest number.
A family of yesterday and today
Navigating between English, Korean and Japanese (distinguished by different colors in the subtitles), the scenario and the dialogues give life to an immense plot, intertwined with accuracy and fluidity between flashbacks and flashforwards, which is moreover carried by a host of impeccable actors and actresses, including Yuh-Jung Youn, Oscar winner for his role in Minari or Min-ha Kim, who plays the young version of his character Sunja, but also the very talented Jin Ha in the Solomon’s skin.
From the first moments, we are captivated by this incisive but moving chronicle of the difficult and fascinating rise of a family crushed by the weight of the past but with an eye turned towards the future. And this incredible course is played on the strength of fate and determination but also sometimes on luck, like pachinko, a game imported from Osaka and a kind of cross between pinball and slot machines, which gives its series name.
And it’s in the games room run by Salomon’s father, where people play pachinko, that the cast meets to dance to the music “Let’s Live For Today” by The Grass Roots in the brilliant and heady credits of the series, which is a very serious competitor to that of Succession, another thrilling family fresco. Like the American show, Pachinko dissects the joys and sorrows of a dysfunctional family in which each of its members tries to accomplish themselves but with greater scope and mad poetry.
Pachinko is a high quality series, a little aesthetic gem full of twists and turns carried by a story of emancipation and reconquest of oppressed immigrants who want to defend their flouted Korean culture, a statement that falls in full popular and global explosion of creation Korean in film and television.