Yuh-Jung Youn of Pachinko and Director Kogonada discuss how a Mere Bite of Rice delivered a Blast From the Past Anatomy of an Emmy-Worthy Scene

Yuh-Jung Youn of Pachinko and Director Kogonada discuss how a Mere Bite of Rice delivered a Blast Fr ...

The 1989 interview on Apple TV+''s Pachinko adaptation appears to be about Solomon simply relocating his grandmother, Sunja, to sell her Tokyo property to his bank. Despite a simple bite of rice, Sunja, unexpectedly enhanced the grand plan, triggering a resurgence of memories, both good and bad.

YUH-JUNG YOUN | I remember Soo Hugh, who was me to say that this scene, aimed at revealing the difference between Korean rice and Japanese rice, is very beneficial for her. Rice is particularly important for Korean people, like [Americans] bread.

KOGONADA | It''s such a pivotal scene, and one that affects the whole series. It surprises all of the characters, and that''s what''s so interesting about it. Solomon''s connection, not knowing that his agenda will be troubled.

YOUN | When Sunja first follows her grandson to this house, she is here to assist him pursue this landowner, selling her property. However, after she tastes that rice, all of the good memories, and the bad, return to her back, from long before she came to Japan.

KOGONADA | What''s great is its this quiet scene with so much drama beneath the surface. Its also foreshadowing things that were going to experience [in Episode 4, when Young Sunja and Isak are treated to white rice after their wedding] but are still a part of the past. That was the clarity of the way that Soo [Hugh] constructed this series differently from the book, taking it out of the linear passage of time.

YOUN | At the time, Sunja was a 74-year-old lady who retired had a complicated and dramatic life. And with that taste of rice, her memory refrained from all of those times. Soo Hugh was a great writer, so I didnt have problems expressing my feelings. It was extremely beneficial to me.

KOGONADA | When I spoke to YJ, she understood the significance of this scene and knew it better than I would know it. And when you encounter actors like YJ and Hye-jin, these two older women have lived a part of this history, so they have it on their face and in their being. Ive said this before, that the YJs face is like a map of Korea, so you light the scene and give them the space to actually show it. You don''t need to

YOUN | Kogonda, who directed Episodes 1,2, 3 and 7, always asked us to do the whole scenes from top to bottom, like a play which sometimes [with longer scenes] is quite annoying! [Laughs] But with this scene, it was very helpful.

KOGONADA | When you go from top to bottom, things are increasing. In film and particularly in television, things can get chopped up, but this scene felt like a play in many ways, when you had three people, a room, and it was written to be delivered that way. That way, you really see the difference between the three, which constantly changes in terms of who is caught between the other two.

YOUN | Sunja eventually breaks down because her sister-in-law passed away. She always loved and resected Kyunghee, who always wanted to return to Korea, so all of a sudden she bursts into tears and my grandson is like, Whats happening? When youre young you can control yourself, and all of a sudden, she turns out to be angry, hide my feelings, but she just bursts because of the rice. Experiencing these memories, bad or bad,

Sunja has had a traumatic experience, but as she has lived her life, she just moves forward and forward. She hasnt really dealt with the difficulties of losing this amazing sister-in-law and friend, and suddenly this moment becomes all about her reconnecting with the past. Solomons hoped Sunja is going to send this message about not clinging to the past, and now the past clings to her.