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A PIECE OF YOUR MIND / HALF OF A HALF
[Banui Ban / 반의 반]
Written by Lee Sook-yun, Directed by Lee Sang-yeob
Production company: The Unicorn [더유니콘] & Movie Rock [ 무비락]
March 23 ~ April 28 2020 [Mon & Tues]
12 episodes [originally 16]
When a person is lost to the world, what are the words that would bring them home? When a part of you is lost, what would it take to finally achieve a peace of mind and heart? As AI (artificial intelligence) programmer Moon Ha-won and classical music recording engineer Han Seo-woo search for the answers in their own lives, their paths cross in moments of happenstance. Will they find the puzzle piece (and peace) they’re looking for, in each other?
— by Mich KDL
Owner, AH Laboratory & Co.
— — — — — — —
Moon Soon-ho (Lee Ha-na)
Ha-won’s niece, Studio Moon studio manager
Kim Ji-soo (Park Joo-hyun)
Ha-won’s first love
Kang In-wook (Kim Sung-kyu)
Ji-soo’s husband, classical pianist
Choi Jin-moo (Lee Seung-joon)
Recording engineer, In-wook’s friend
Recording engineer, Studio Moon
— — — — — — —
Jeon Eun-joo (Lee Sang-hee)
Owner, Eun-joo’s boarding house
Kim Chang-seob (Kang Bong-sung)
Boarder and Eun-joo’s boyfriend
Choi Soo-ji (Kim Nu-ri)
Boarder, Eun-joo’s boarding house
Kim Min-jung (Lee Jung-eun)
Boarder, Eun-joo’s boarding house
In A Piece of Your Mind, lead actress Chae Soo-bin is reunited with not just one, but two of her former cast members from 2017’s KBS2 drama Strongest Deliveryman (최강 배달꾼). Kang Bong-sung (previous role: deliveryman Byeong-soo) is Seo-woo’s college mate and homestay tenant Chang-sub, while Ye Soo-jung (previous role: shop owner Jung-im) is professional piano tuner Eun Soo-jung.
PRODUCTION: WRITER & DIRECTOR
Screenwriter: Lee Sook-yun (이숙연)
Interestingly, A Piece of Your Mind is only the second drama written by Lee Sook-yun (이숙연) (also: Lee Suk-yeon/Lee Suk-yun) — the first being 2016’s On the Way to the Airport (공항 가는 길) (KBS2). She started out writing for movies, with her first being One Fine Spring Day (2001), and her latest offering being Tune in For Love (유열의 음악앨범) (2019), which also starred Jung Hae-in. Other notable works include the movies Bravo, My Life! (2004) and The Sword With No Name (불꽃처럼 나비처럼) (2009).
Director: Lee Sang-yeob (이상엽)
AI-themed dramas are very much familiar ground for A Piece of Your Mind’s director Lee Sang-yeob (이상엽), whose last drama work was Netflix’s My Holo Love (나 홀로 그대) (2020). After starting out co-directing the MBC daily drama What’s For Dinner? in 2009, he finally went on to direct solo with subsequent works like Mr Baek (2014), Shopping King Louis (쇼핑왕 루이) (MBC, 2016) and Familiar Wife (아는 와이프) (tvN, 2018).
When starting out watching A Piece of Your Mind, Mich and I were initially thrown off by its locations’ non-familiarity. There was certainly a coherence to everything, but where was the drama actually taking place?
One of the main neighborhoods of A Piece of Your Mind is Pyeongchang [Pyeongchang-dong/평창동]: a neighborhood known to K-Drama watchers as the place in Seoul where the wealthy and well-off live in mansions; fancy restaurants, cafés and art museums included. So far, only the 7-Eleven–Pyeongchang Branch [세븐일레븐 평창점] and Pyeongchangsa Laundry [평창사 세탁] made me think that there are other sides to this neighborhood. Now, A Piece of Your Mind uncovers and highlights some of them, like this bus stop, this overpass, and this street. — Marion KDL
If the Korean locations hadn’t already intrigued us enough, the drama takes things one step further by peppering its flashback sequences with dreamy winter wonderland scenes. This is Ha-won and Ji-soo’s ‘Norway’, where they had met as children and grew up together as teens. Thanks to Marion’s sleuthing, we found out that these scenes were actually not filmed in Norway, but over 900km away in Estonia! This personally came as a surprise to me as there would usually be articles published when a K-Drama films overseas, but there was none for this one. Amazing how some things can still be kept secret in K-Dramaland. — Mich KDL
Search A Piece of Your Mind (반의반) on KDL for a visual look of all locations.
Last update: 06/08/2020
— Uicheon-ro 38ra-gil [우이천로38라길]
— Sinimun Station [신이문역] [E2]
— Eun-joo’s Boarding House [은주하숙] (fictional)
— Puradak Chicken — Deungchon Station Branch [푸라닭 등촌역점]
— The Nexen UniverCity [더넥센유니버시티]
— Naeoe Juga [내외주가]
— FN Coffee
— Bangseonsaeng Useumbapsang [방선생웃음밥상] [E4]
— Pyeongchang12-gil [평창12길]
— Pedestrian Bridge Pyeongchang-dong
— Bus Stop Pyeongchang-dong [E2]
— Bukhansan Atelier Gwanghwamun Branch
— Samcheong-ro [삼청로] [E5]
— Samcheong-ro 4-gil [삼청로4길] [E5]
— Gwanghwamun Square [광화문광장] [E4]
— Bus Stop Jeongdok Public Library [정독도서관 정류장] [E4]
— Seum Art Space [세움아트스페이스] [E4]
— House Toegye-ro 6ga-gil [E1]
— Miss Saigon DMC Branch [미스사이공상암] [E6]
— DDMC [동아디지털미디어센터] [E6]
— Slow Pharmacy [슬로우파마씨] [E2/4]
— Gonbap [곤밥] [E2/6]
— Object Seogyo Branch [오브젝트] [E5]
— Wau Overpass [와우고가차도] [E8]
— Haengdang Skywalk [행당스카이워크] [E1]
SEOUL [서울특별시] (con’t)
— Olympic Park [올림픽공원] [E2]
— New Seongnam Terminal [성남종합버스터미널] [E7]
Erik Satie’s “Je te veux”
At the beginning of episode 1, Ha-won comes home and his AI invention plays Erik Satie’s Je te veux (I Want You). It even explains that it was composed in 1891 before Ha-won tells it to stop. It was, indeed, one of the French composer and pianist’s most popular self-composed songs. Later, Seo-woo plays the same song at the recording studio on her last day of work and Ha-won stops in his tracks when passing by. Lead by the music, he curiously enters the building.
In episode 7, Ha-won gets Seo-woo to help him record himself playing this song on the keyboard, which he struggles through much of the day doing. “I never said I was any good,” he comments sheepishly at the end of it, with Seo-woo giving her concurrence.
Brahms, Cello Sonata No. 2
Ha-won quizzes Seo-woo about music pieces in episode 7, and he tells her that it would be quite easy for him as his mother was a piano teacher. She plays this song for him and he almost immediately pinpoints it correctly.
OKDAL (옥상달빛) – Wish I Could Disappear
(내가 사라졌으면 좋겠어)
Thanks to Luna for sharing this tidbit!
As a way to comfort Ha-won after he’d talked about his mother for the first time, Seo-woo sings part of this song to him in episode 9:
I wake up in the morning
While I look at the neatly arranged bedding
Suddenly I have a thought
If I were to disappear
As if I were never here
in the first place…
If I live life like that
One day there will be a reason
why I shouldn’t disappear
곱게 정리한 이불을 보며
문득 그런 생각을 했어
내가 사라졌으면 내가 사라진다면
처음부터 이 자리에 없었던 듯이…
이렇게 살다 보면
안되는 이유가 생기겠지
이렇게 살다 보면
OKDAL (which is short for 옥상달빛, or ‘rooftop moonlight’) is an indie female duo that debuted in 2010. This song was released as part of their single album The Strange Times (희한한 시대) in 2015.
Jo Dong-jin (조동진) – Violet Flower (제비꽃)
In episode 11, as the AH Laboratory & Co. team tries to help Ha-won decipher the melody that his late mother used to play on the piano, it is psychologist Dr Song Jin-sun (Kim Soo-jin) who manages to put a title to the tune. It is the late contemporary folk music pioneer Jo Dong-jin’s Violet Flower, which was the title track of his third album of the same name, released in 1985. The version he performs in 1992 was with Jang Pil-sun, his sister-in-law.
You smiled as you told me
How the smallest things made you cry
너는 웃으면 내게 말했지
아주 작은 일에도 눈물이 나와
음 음 음 음 음 음 음
As she had promised, Seo-woo practises the song and plays part of it for Ha-won to hear. Though she had claimed that she’s “not a good singer”, she shyly sings part of the first verse:
You smiled as you told me
How you want to fly far away like a bird
너는 웃으며 내게 말했지
아주 멀리 새처럼 날으고 싶어
음 음 음 음 음 음 음
Poem ‘Misiryeong Sunset (미시령 노을)’ by Lee Sung-sun (이성선)
The short 5-line poem Misiryeong Sunset (미시령 노을) by Lee Sung-sun (이성선) is a sort of narrative thread weaving parts of A Piece of Your Mind together. First and foremost, this poem is part of Ji-soo’s and Ha-won’s secret language. When living as teenagers in Norway, they often said it out loud, taking turns at each line, as seen in episode 1. They also used it as a sort of mantra against their fear when walking through the deep winter forest to and from school. It is also this poem that Ji-soo recites into the microphone when being recorded by Seo-woo — also in episode 1.
A single leaf
Lands on the shoulder
Without making a sound
Cosmos laid its hand on me
It was very light.
아무 기척도 없이 어깨에
내 몸에 우주가 손을 얹었다
In episode 10, In-wook is revealed to have named his piano composition ‘Misiryung Sunset’, in memory of Ji-soo and her love for the sunset at Misiryeong. It is also at this mountain top that Ji-soo had told Ha-won that she was getting married.
The score for this piece was composed by Jeon Jong-hyuk and Nam Hye-seung, with In-wook also being credited in the official A Piece of Your Mind soundtrack.
Poem ‘Graffiti (낙서)’ by Park Jun (박준)
Min-jung goes to Studio Moon in episode 6 to do a recording with Seo-woo. As part of the session, she reads out an excerpt of the poem Graffiti (낙서) written by poet and editor Park Jun (박준). The poem featured in his best-selling 2012 anthology I Took Your Name as Medicine (당신의 이름을 지어다가 며칠은 먹었다).
I thought it was the end for me as well as this winter,
so I went to Namhae without any plans.
It was already Spring there.
Sea bass, trout, and blue crabs were in season.
저도 끝이고 겨울도 끝이다 싶어
무작정 남해로 간 적이 있었는데요
거기는 벌써 봄이 와서농어도 숭어도 꽃게도 제철이었습니다
Read the full poem in Korean here.
Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant
In episode 9, a teenage Ha-won (Nam Da-reum) holds a copy of Critique of Pure Reason (Die Kritik der reinen Vernunft) by German philosopher Immanuel Kant, as he awaits the return of his mother in Norway.
The act of banbogi (반보기) was an early Korean practice in which family members living in other villages chose to “meet in the middle” — particularly, as Ha-won explains to Seo-woo in episode 8, “when a married woman wanted to meet her mother, she would meet her briefly at a point exactly midway between their homes”. He suggests that they banbogi as well, and they do, with Wau Overpass serving as their first midpoint, and the cherry-blossom lined Geumpa-ro as the second in episode 10.
“Everything with the word ‘spring’ is pretty: Spring snow, spring night, spring-ache. You know, in springtime, you ache all over your body because of loneliness,” shares Seo-woo in episode 9, as Ha-won listens on. This was the moment that they both observed the morning after the first snow in spring: a typical phenomenon in South Korea, which has inspired the titles of movies or K-pop songs, for instance.
The mention of ‘spring night’ (봄밤) can also be seen as a reference to One Spring Night — the 2019 MBC drama that starred A Piece of Your Mind lead actor Jung Hae-in.
Ha-won visits Seo-woo’s house in episode 9 but encounters Jeon Eun-joo (Lee Sang-hee) instead. After hearing that he has an upset stomach, she cooks scorched rice porridge for him. “When your stomach doesn’t feel comfortable, scorched rice porridge is the best,” Eun-joo tells Ha-won, as she ushers him to eat.
Scorched rice, or nurungji (누룽지), is the term to describe the thin crust that remains at the bottom of the pot of cooked rice, which is also featured in several South Korean dishes. Interestingly, nurungji is considered to have effective medical benefits and is even mentioned in the medical book Dongui Bogam (동의보감) –compiled by royal physician Heo Jun (1539–1615)– as a remedy “when food does not swallow easily, upsets the stomach and induces vomiting”.
In episode 9, Seo-woo gifts Eun-joo, whom she considers as a mother-figure, a red cardigan that she bought with her first paycheck. In doing so, Seo-woo continues a tradition here (with a contemporary twist) that started as far back as the 1960s in South Korea. This tradition consists of gifting one’s parents with red long johns purchased with the salary received from one’s first job — and thus red underwear became a symbol for filial piety. According to The Grand Narrative, one of the explanations as to why this tradition started with red-colored long johns is that before floor heating became more conventional, people wore long underwear at night and red-colored underwear was the most expensive one at the time. The red cardigan here that Seo-woo has chosen as a gift is a little variation in terms of type of clothes, but still clearly delivering the same meaning.
“Uncle! Rice is a Korean’s strength!” wrote Soon-ho on a post-it note that Ha-won finds on his rice cooker when he heads back to his apartment in episode 11. Indeed, rice is such a staple food in South Korea that many even use its Korean word (밥, bap) to ask after someone (“Have you eaten?” — 밥 먹었어요? bap mogosseoyo?) or to indicate the start of a meal (“Let’s eat.” — 밥먹자. bap mokja).
As this Quora answer explains, eating is central to a Korean’s well-being, and much strength can be drawn from a good meal. Despite how Ha-won had felt after his confrontation with In-wook, Soon-ho believed that nothing was more important than making sure that her beloved uncle was well fed — and that he would gain strength from it too.
Interestingly though, it was reported that S. Korea’s rice consumption had actually decreased in 2019, possibly attributed to “changes in the diets and eating habits of South Koreans”.
Photos: Thom Musni
Any other information to add? Or any thoughts about the drama and its locations?
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