“Navirrela”

Wednesday, May 05, 2021 (Cinco de Mayo + 21 days before May’s “Flower Moon” rises fullest to Earth)

I’m watching a South Korean series currently streaming on Netflix. “Navirrela” tells the story of a 70-year-old man, a retired postal letter carrier, who strives to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a ballet dancer. Without any dancing experience, he has specific wishes, “to learn how to soar” and to dance in a production of “Swan Lake”.

We shake our heads, for he looks his age. He shuffles while walking, worries about aging, and has zero physical potential.

This old man happens upon a 23-year-old, practicing a routine in preparation for a ballet competition. The old man’s eyes light up on seeing the other perform a complex series of twists and leaps. Afterwards, he collars the young man, begging for instruction in beginning ballet.

This seemingly implausible plot, in Korean with subtitles, has had me wondering, had me laughing, and had me in tears. It’s a captivating series about social and family complexities, about aging and hope, and about conflicting interpersonal issues. Above all, it’s about how new relationships may develop, and how they may change over time.

To me, the entire cast was new. Playing the 70-year-old, a wonderful lead actor, Park In-Hwan, an experienced and well recognized South Korean, is sensational in his role. The young man who’s an aspiring competition dancer is Song Kang, usually a dramatic actor. For this role, he spent months learning ballet, is athletic and dances convincingly. The large supporting cast of family and community members complete the fine ensemble.

Currently, this series consists only of one season, but another is on the way. I’ve found tuning into this story to be a worthwhile experience.

Dear Friends: Foreign-sourced series, beyond story and talent teach much about the larger world. Diana

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