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Wuxia titan's iconic epic brought to life again

By Xu Fan | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-08-25 09:07

A still image of Tian Long Ba Bu. [Photo provided to China Daily]

A household name to Chinese martial arts enthusiasts across the world, the late writer Louis Cha - better known by his pen name, Jin Yong - wrote 14 novels, with most adapted many times on screen to entrance generations of fans.

Recently, Tian Long Ba Bu (Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils), one of his most iconic epics, has been again adapted to the eponymous TV series, which is now running on CCTV-8 and the streaming site Tencent Video.

The series teams up chief director Yu Rongguang and chief action choreographer Si Xiaodong, as well as two co-directors, Peng Jie and Zhao Jia, who have cooperated on projects for many years.

Chief director Yu Rongguang (left) explains the details of a scene at the filming set of Tian Long Ba Bu. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Set in the turbulent era during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), the epic follows three parallel plotlines, respectively, about Qiao Feng, leader of one of the country's biggest martial arts clans who is struggling with his true identity; Duan Yu, a prince who is yearning to pursue the love of his life and Xuzhu, a young monk who stumbles into a legendary love with a princess.

Known for helming a series of influential TV series such as, The Mu Saga, Yu said he was hooked on the project for his love of the original novel and fond of its highlighted Chinese xiayi (chivalry) spirit.

"Among all the novels written by Cha, this tale features the most epic scope to examine how personal fates are interwoven with the destiny of their countries. It also arouses an in-depth look into the good and evil sides of humanity," Yu said.

With most of the scenarios shot in Southwest China's Yunnan province, the 56-episode TV series was filmed in about six months, gathering a group of young actors, including Yo Yang, Bai Shu and Zhang Tianyang.

For most diehard fans, one of the top highlights is the series recreates the iconic martial art skills fictionalized in the novel, ranging from Xiang Long Shi Ba Zhang (punches capable to defeat a dragon) to Liu Mai Shen Jian (fingers used like a sword with qi).

Poster of Tian Long Ba Bu (Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils). [Photo provided to China Daily]
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