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'90s Shanghai blooms on the small screen

Popular TV drama directed by the legendary Wong Kar-wai is both love song and nostalgic salute to city and era, Xu Fan reports.

By Xu Fan | China Daily | Updated: 2024-02-02 09:07

Lingzi (played by Ma Yili), a restaurant operator who also develops romantic feelings for the protagonist.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Other examples include fans waiting in long queues outside restaurants to order a plate of fried pork chops with rice cakes, a traditional Shanghai dish that Boss Bao always orders for his dinners with Wang Mingzhu (played by Tang Yan), one of the three principal female characters.

The drama's popularity even extends to its soundtrack. Jacky Cheung, one of Hong Kong's most famous singers, performed Steal One's Heart at his show in Quanzhou, Fujian province, on Jan 19.The song, which Cheung had only sung in public a few times since its release in 1994, was added to the concert after it was used to set the atmosphere during one particularly heartbreaking scene, lending it newfound popularity.

"Honestly, I didn't anticipate the drama would achieve such huge success," Qin says, during an interview with China Daily.

As a seasoned scriptwriter with over two decades of experience in the TV industry, Qin says that she was quite surprised to receive a call to write the script for Wong in 2017.

"I have been an ardent fan of his for many years. I was excited because it was a rare opportunity to meet my idol, but even then I wasn't sure if I would be picked in the end," she says.

Interestingly, when Qin walked into the meeting room and saw several middle-aged men in front of her, she momentarily failed to recognize Wong, who is famous for wearing sunglasses to public events, as he was only wearing a pair of ordinary glasses.

After working with the director for almost five years on Blossoms Shanghai — for which Wong acquired the film copyright in 2013 — Qin describes the project as the most time-consuming and exhausting of her career.

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