Saturday, November 13, 2021


The Koreans keep coming up with new ideas.  Or maybe I just am not aware of their sources.  A 70 year old rather placid man pairs up with a 20 something male ballet dancer.   Quite the contrast to "Squid Game" (2021).  Netflix has picked another winner.

The title . "Navillera" translates to "Like a Butterfly"  The story originates from a Webtoon.  Webtoons started in South Korea and are a digital cartoon comic meant for smart phones.  Ideas come from all sorts of places.

We are introduced to an old man wandering around in an office building and he stumbles on a dance practice floor.  He is mesmerized by the music (of "Swan Lake") and the athleticism of the  male dancer.  Soon we are introduced to the male dancer who seems in some sort of argument with his coach.  Not too long later the older man asks to take ballet lessons.  The young dancer is insulted, but his coach forces him to not only give lessons, but accept the older man as a manager.  See the pivotal moment:

From this improbable start their relationship develops and we learn of much of their history and even of family members and aquaintances.  It might seem uninteresting, but that is far from truthful.  There were obstacles and efforts to overcome them.  The characters were not only interesting, but the actors portraying them were excellent.  It has an ending that will be hard to forget, but I have noticed none of the IMDB reviewers give much details. 

Reviewers have a decision to make about how much of the plot to reveal.  If we like the story we encourage you to check it out, but revealing too much of the plot can wreck the impact.  One movie I cannot praise enough was "Uyare"(2017 with a plot development you would not expect that makes it a much more meaningful experience.  "Navillera" has a number of plot lines that connect up that make the series deeper than you could expect.  I feel guilty I can't make myself clearer, but urge you to give it a chance. 

A couple of scenes had personal memories for me.  There was a a pianist playing for the dancers and I remembered my sister, Rebecca did that for a few years and ended up taking a few lessons.   There was another scene of an aquarium that reminded me of visits to the aquarium in Toronto and one in New Zealand.  For all of you, even the ones uninterested in ballet will find many of the scenes overpowering, some of which were done by a body double.  The ending reminded me of my last words with my Grandmother Coakwell.

Some of the crew and cast that made it so memorable include the following:

Dong-Hwa Han, was the director having worked on three other series.

Lee Eun-Mi wrote the script with only one previous credit, a highly rated series, "Tunnel" (2017)

Hun, was credited for writing, probably based on his original webtoon of the same name. 

As well as some famous ballet music, the background music was enjoyable. 

In-hwan Park played the 70 year old man.   Earlier films included "Thirst" (2009) and "Miss Granny"  (2014).  Check

Song Kang played the promising ballet dancer.  He is popular with romantic roles.  In "Navillera" there is not really any romance, but he is not like a fish out of water, with several relations you will remember.

Moon-hee Na plays the old mother.  She has won numerous awards.  At first you may not like her, but she soon becomes a supportive mother not only for her husband with the weird interest, but also her children and their spouses.  Two films in her long career are  "Miss Granny (2014) "My Mister" (2018).  Check:

Hong Seung Hee plays the grand-daughter and provides a hint of romance.  She also appears in "Move to Heaven" (2021) as another hint of romance--  She looks attractive and wholesome and is supportive of both her grandfather and of the ballet dancer.

This is really a brief description, but I assure you most of you will love it.  Don't give up your dreams.

As usual I have bolded the first mention of movies I have seen.  It is partly vanity for sure, but I want to assure you I have watched other movies involving the cast and crew.

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