Choi Bul-am’s experience of playing a character for a long time in “Country Diary” changed the person’s life. The four-part series of MBC’s 60th anniversary special “Docuplex-Country Diary 2021” has ended. It would be impossible to capture all the footprints and thoughts left by “Country Diary,” which had been aired for 22 years as a four-part series. But this short documentary shows enough value to look into how acting and life affect each other. It’s worth evaluating.
The figures at the center of this proof of value are none other than Chairman Kim and Choi Bul-am of ‘Country Diary’. Choi Bul-am opened the documentary, which summoned ‘Country Diary’ to the present day, and wrapped it up. With the heavy portrait of the father of our time, he has been in charge of the character Kim since his late thirties for 22 years, and since then, he has lived in the present under the influence and driving force of his life.
Although I realized it belatedly through this documentary, he suddenly started doing a liberal arts program called KBS “Korean Table” one day because Chairman Kim of “Country Diary” was still alive in one of his hearts. While urbanization was taking place and everyone was leaving the countryside and flocking to the city, Chairman Kim was still looking for a rural life as if he had a debt of his heart. And the countryside ladies and elders he visited welcomed him as Chairman Kim.
Kim Hye-ja, who was interviewed after several attempts, still referred to Choi Bul-am as a “teacher.” “I thought Mr. Choi Bul-am was like a teacher. I didn’t study because I didn’t major in theater and film. I mean, it’s so interesting and interesting that you’re telling me about your acting. So when we’re together, he asks me to do it again. Then, he tells me now.”
It is true that Choi Bul-am has been known to the public for his image of Choi Bul-am, the “Father of the People,” or the “Choi Bul-am Series,” and comedians used to imitate him with “pa-” laughter from time to time. However, “Country Diary 2021” showed how hard and prepared Choi Bul-am was. For example, the “pa-” smile didn’t just come out. The acting came from the judgment that trying to hold back laughter rather than laughing loudly was appropriate for Chairman Kim. Surprisingly, the acting became a habit and became Choi Bul-am’s smile.
In the fourth episode, Lim Ho, who played Geumdong, or Nam Young-nam, all testified that the acting of “Country Diary” was different from the atmosphere at that time. In other words, there were many exaggerated and Protestant acts at that time. However, “Country Diary” said that actors were performing natural “method acting” except for such exaggeration. At the heart of it was Choi Bul-am. Nam Sung-jin said he was surprised that Choi Bul-am was often seen sitting with his back on the set when recording for the first time. It was a natural performance by Choi Bul-am, judging that it was too “playful” to face the screen even if it was a set shoot.
During the drinking session, Choi Bul-am told an anecdote when he visited the broadcasting station to record “Country Diary” and saw him at the security office and said, “You are recording “Country Diary” today?” Chairman Kim seemed to be coming even from a distance, so the security guard said he recognized him. It was an anecdote that occurred because he was so immersed in the character. However, his efforts also affected the actors who shared “Country Diary.”
Kim Hye-ja played a completely different mother in Bong Joon-ho’s movie “Mother.” However, another face of the mother also agreed with the production team that she might take out what was already in the “Country Diary” and write it again. Choi Bul-am helped, and the effort itself would have been an inspiration to the actors around him. The impact would never have been small.
Countryside Diary also affected the lives of the actors who appeared there. Perhaps it was a natural result that the person’s appearance, habits and thoughts spread to life while playing a character for a long time. Actors such as Kim Hye-jung and Lee Gye-in were still living their lives in rural areas, and Kim Ji-young and Nam Ji-jin, who met as bickering lovers in this work, became a real couple. Kim Soo-mi’s image of Il-yong’s family, which she gained through this work, has now become a character and continues to be a entertainment program. Of course, there have been some unfortunate things. Park Yoon-bae, who was more remembered by us as a “reaction,” actually divorced early and lived alone before leaving due to illness.
It is often thought that acting is some ‘role play’ that is out of touch with life, but it is not. This is because acting is not mimicking other characters, but bringing them out of their lives and showing them even if they are different characters. Acting affects the person’s life in that respect. It would be even more so if it had been more than 20 years. Choi Bul-am once said that after Chairman Kim’s acting of adopting Geum-dong, viewers praised him, leading the way in sponsoring the “Children’s Foundation.” That’s what acting is. A smile that makes you laugh. It becomes your own smile.