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Suspense drama sparks tourism boom in Wuyuan

By Xu Fan | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-05-24 16:56

Director Yao Xiaofeng shares behind-the-scenes stories of his directorial TV series Tender Light at a seminar in Beijing on May 20. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Director Yao Xiaofeng embarked on a captivating journey across various small towns in China to bring to life the suspenseful drama Tender Light, but it was the blossoming canola flower fields of Wuyuan, Jiangxi province, that captured his imagination.

The drama, inspired by the bestselling romance novel Gentle South Wind (Xiao Nan Feng), has taken the online world by storm, amassing a staggering 1 billion views on related topics on Sina Weibo. Its impact on tourism in Wuyuan is palpable, with the area witnessing a surge in visitors during the recent May Day holiday, attracting 570,000 tourists — an impressive 10.5 percent increase from the previous year, as reported by the producers.

In a scene from Tender Light, actress Tong Yao portrays a beautiful woman who grapples with rumors and gossip in a small town. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Set against the backdrop of a tranquil small town disrupted by a shocking murder, where the wife of a prominent businessman confesses to the crime, Tender Light weaves a tale of mystery and intrigue. Zhou Luo, a university dropout, finds himself entangled in the unfolding drama, his hidden emotions for the accused woman adding a layer of complexity to the narrative.

Premiering on CCTV-8 and the streaming platform Youku on April 27, the drama has captivated audiences, garnering over 150 million online views. Short videos related to the series have amassed a staggering 5.53 billion views on Douyin, underscoring its widespread popularity.

Reflecting on his filming experience, director Yao fondly recalled his exploration of towns in Sichuan, Guizhou, and Hunan provinces. However, it was the serene beauty and picturesque charm of Wuyuan that stole his heart, leading him to shoot in the town for over four months.

Delving deeper into the narrative, Yao emphasized the exploration of human nature within the storyline. "It's not a simple tale of good versus evil," he remarked. "Rather, it delves into a pivotal night that reshapes the destinies of many individuals — a collective portrayal of the town's inhabitants."


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