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Watching: The Disguiser 伪装者 Song on repeat: Just Once 一次就好 by Aska Yang

Music Monday: Dai Quan’s wuxia dream

What I’ve been listening to be on repeat the last two weeks:   Dai Quan‘s  rearrangement of Emil Chau’s classic wuxia theme song,  刀劍如夢 A life of fighting is but a dream.  The addition of the Chinese opera elements and the poetry recitation, combined with Dai Quan’s own rougher voice makes the song scream wuxia from beginning to end.

There’s no live of him singing this (there is a duet, but the other guy’s not very good), so you have the added treat of watching Wang Kai as Shi Taipu while listening to this.

Yang Yang, Amber Kuo bear the Olympic flame

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What better way to show the Olympic spirit with Yang Yang’s infectious smile?

In case you need a reminder it’s an Olympics year again, we have the ever so adorable Yang Yang and Amber Kuo as celeb torch-bearers in Athens to start the Olympic flame’s  journey around the world.

Who are you rooting at Rio 2016?   For those of you who were with us at the forum, I still remember us (mostly me) balling on the chatbox over Qiu Bo getting silver.  I think that’s definitely one gold I’m rooting for, although Chen Aisen is turning out to be a serious competitor for the gold this year. Also can someone update me on what’s going on with the gymnastics team? They seem to have done horrible at last year’s world championships.   Continue reading

The Disguiser: Which Mr. Ming?

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Complex yet never out of character, Yue Yao’s Liang Zhongchun is one of the best characters of the year.

This is a series of posts of me over-analyzing The Disguiser. This one’s really short since I had originally planned to talk about it with the next post, but that scene deserved its own post so I kicked this one out. I’ve looked at a painting, a conversation, next time it’ll be what I consider the best acted scene of the entire series.  Can you guess which one it is? 

Aristotle once said the key to good dialogue is to “Speak as common people do, but think as wise men do.” See how in this example here, Ming Cheng took exactly one line to hint to Liang Zhongchun of his ambitions upon their first meeting.

Liang Zhongchun, somewhat synchophantly: “I’ve long heard the fame of Mr.Ming.”
Ming Cheng, with a slight raised tone and eyebrow: “Which Mr.Ming?”

Posing as a simple question, the subtext is Ming Cheng’s hint to Liang Zhongchun of his own (faked) ambitions and wish to be distinct from Ming Lou, luring Liang to eventually join Ming Cheng’s camp.   And if you read too much into it, it defines Ming Cheng’s ambiguous status and relationship in the Ming family that became essential to his multiple disguises.

This line would’ve been perfect if it was somehow tied in with the recorder at the ending when the question of which Mr. Ming is on the tape becomes one of life-and-death.

Ady An, Zhu Yilong in The Queen Returns

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The pink pullover looks really comfy. It reminded me that I need more Zhu Yilong in my life.

Why must you tempt me with another drama that will probably never air, Zhu Yilong?!  The Queen Returns 御姐归来 stars Ady An as a heiress who becomes a maid to escape an arranged marriage. As they all do in TV, the maid falls for the boss (Zhu Yilong). When the engagement ends in embarrassment for her family  and her father denounces her inheritance, she plans to show the world that she doesn’t need a marriage to earn her worth and attempts to build her own business empire with the help of her new beau.   There’s also some Romeo-Juliet family feud going on for added drama.

Also, how nice is it that so many modern idol dramas are ditching dubbing? Especially since Zhu Yilong’s voice acting is pretty good for an idol actor.

Chen Yao, Zhang Danfeng’s kissing tour of the world

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So Young and Stay With Me are in a tight battle for most kiss scenes of the year.

Did all the Chinese directors  decided to upgrade their camera, costumes, and lighting departments?  Because there are so many dramas that looks pretty visually (even without the photo filters here).

From the Wuyuan riverside to the Shanghai cityscape to the Lucca countryside ,  Chen Yao and Zhang Danfeng pose for a romantic kiss wherever they go.   Drama So Young is set to air on July 1st.

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Liu YIfei, Liu Ye love and scream in psychological thriller

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Given that this is set partly in Chengdu, all I could think about was Chengdu’s famous ear cleaning services.

With a view to his mating, the one and only object of his life, the Night Peacock moth is gifted with a wonderful prerogative. He is able to discover the object of his desire in spite of distance, obstacles and darkness.

– Jean-Henri Fabre, The Life of the Caterpillar

The go-to mainstream actor for artsy films, Liu Ye, joins Liu Yifei in the first film to be screened in China by writer and director Dai Sijie since Balzac and the Seamstress in 2002.

Night Peacock 夜孔雀 tells of flute player Elsa (Liu Yifei) and her romantic escapades with first a scholar of silk (Leon Lai) and then a tattoo artist (Liu Ye).  Yu Shaoqun joins the cast as the silk scholar’s Leon Lai’s son, a Sichuanese opera singer who appears to be into cross-dressing and may be in a mental asylum based on the trailer.

I’m guessing that Liu Yifei is banking on this to be a career-changing film after a series of poor commercial flicks and poor acting. Hopefully she can prove herself this time.  The film airs on May 20th. 

Music Monday: MIC Steelo-Z, Lee Seung-hyun for I’m Lala

MIC’s Steelo is back with a new song! The song is a duet with Lee Seung-hyun for Qi Wei’s upcoming drama I’m Lala 我是杜拉拉 (airing this Saturday).  Unlike people like Benji and SJZGloria, I can’t write about music at all, but I love this song already.  Plus, it’s a theme song for a big drama, so big congrats for him!  MV below, full song here.

The Disguiser: Dissecting a Dialogue

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Rule #76 of drama-verse: Although check your surroundings for paparazzis, because this hug could incriminate you for life.

This is a series of posts of me over-analyzing The Disguiser. Last time I looked at a painting, this time it’ll be a conversation, next time it will be exactly one line. Can you guess which one?

When a sample of Nirvana in Fire 2’s script was put up by producer Hou Hongliang last week, he got so many complaints about the awkward dialogue and requests to have a co-writer to work with author Hai Yan that  he deleted the post. With so many book adaptations, one of the worst aspect of many recent dramas is their inability to translate descriptive writing into scripts. Luckily, The Disguiser did not fall into that trap.

Here is a closer look into one of my favorite dialogues in The Disguiser, the reunion of Ming Lou (Jin Dong) and Wang Manchun (Wang Ou) here in episode 1. See how natural the dialogue flows while setting up the story and revealing character at the same time, and how much better it is than the lazy method of using a random bystander conversation to introduce the characters.

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