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TV series dives into the bustles of Shanghai in 1990s

By Xu Fan | | Updated: 2024-01-02 15:19
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The popular series Blossoms Shanghai features actor Hu Ge as a self-made millionaire. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The long-awaited TV series Blossoms Shanghai has been released in two versions — Mandarin and the Shanghai dialect — on Dec 27, quickly soaring as one of the most popular dramas during the New Year's period.

Adapted from writer Jin Yucheng's award-winning novel, Fan Hua (Blossoms), the series takes audience back to Shanghai in the early 1990s, following the rise of A Bao, an ambitious young man who seizes the opportunities of the early stock market and transforms into a self-made millionaire, expanding his business to foreign trade.

Amid his journey to success, the protagonist has received help from multiple friends, including a seasoned former businessman, a capable employee from a foreign trade company, and a restaurant operator. However, his relationship with these friends endures an unprecedented test due to a mysterious woman, and his own business also faces a crisis due to a powerful rival from Shenzhen.

Iconic Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai purchased the adaptation copyright of the novel around a decade ago, and had spent three years on shooting the TV series, also Wong's first directorial television project, making it one of the most anticipated works for his fans.

A still features actor Hu Ge and actress Xin Zhilei. [Photo provided to China Daily]

In the midst of a rapidly developing era defined by economic growth, the protagonist A Bao, portrayed by actor Hu Ge, becomes the embodiment of those relentlessly pursuing success and material wealth, according to some critics.

Under Wong's lens, a Shanghai dream filled with aspirations is portrayed — bustling, vibrant, and captivating. The drama features some of the city's landmark sites from the era, ranging from the flamboyant and lively Huanghe Road, where businesspeople from all over the country gather, to the Fairmont Peace Hotel, which showcases Shanghai's charm and international flair.

Wong said he was born in Shanghai but later moved with his parents to Hong Kong. "Over the past few decades, I have constantly been coming and going to Shanghai. My elder brother and elder sister have always been in Shanghai, and I have more than 20 cousins who are basically from the same generation as the characters in Blossoms Shanghai. I am very curious about what they have experienced, so I have decided to adapt this novel," he added.

Speaking that the original novel consisting of a total of 31 chapters, Wong said it lacks a coherent storyline.

"On the surface, the tale focuses on the theme of food and relationships, but beneath the words lies the portrayal of Shanghai's changing times. When faced with such a structure, it becomes an intricate task to approach it, as there are countless possibilities and directions to explore," he said.

Currently, this drama has sparked heated discussions online, with some netizens commenting that they feel every frame of the visuals resembles a movie, capturing the vibrant yet tumultuous essence of the city through the interplay of light and shadows.

A scene in Blossoms Shanghai. [Photo provided to China Daily]
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