[Note: This chapter starts with a scene from Cold Night, the drama Jiang Yi is in]
The dock crowded with people; a single large ship berthed at the beach.
The sky was a dark and gloomy grey, and the chill of early spring froze the bone. This was Shanghai in 1941. Now, a steamer that came from the USA smoothly reached the harbour.
The dock was full of people; hundreds of ordinary travellers were waiting to pick up their loved ones, but they were all, at that moment, silent. In front, ten soldiers in uniform equipped with guns stood in a neat formation, their faces expressionless. Only the jet-black guns at their hips reflected the light.
The overcast sea, the huge ocean liner, and the armed troops.
Everything foreshadowed that a major event would happen there.
A disturbance suddenly occurred in front. As the crowd separated in the middle it seemed like the tide retreating backwards, creating a single passage. The camera lens moved forwards shakily. At the top of the long steps, a man wearing a white suit with a hand in his pocket stood elegantly.
He was wearing sunglasses and as he looked down, it seemed as if he was scrutinising this land that he had left from a long time ago.
In the desolate sky, gulls flew overhead with their wings outstretched letting out long cries.
He looked, at last, at the soldiers waiting for the purge.
The man paused for a couple of seconds and it was not known what he was thinking of. And then he lifted his hand, and made a shooting gesture at the crowd.
This action seemed to be an order. The soldiers raised their guns, their movements synchronised. In an instant on the dock the earth quaked and the mountains shook.
The bayonets gleamed with an icy chill as the pitch-black muzzles aimed at him. They stayed with swords drawn and bows bent (idiom) for a long moment. The man was still as before, his expression unchanged. He lightly said, “Bang.”
This kind of nonchalance was like a child playing. Heaven and earth were both his playground.
After doing this, he withdrew his hand and took off his sunglasses, revealing his face.
The cold wind was numbing and everything nearby was all grey, but the moment his eyes were exposed it seemed as sunshine was shining down.
The scene was covered with a faint layer of gold, and his handsome, elegant face was also suffused with a light golden.
One of the man’s hands toyed with his sunglasses, and he lightly raised an eyebrow as he said to the foremost officer, “Wait for me?”
In the sky fighter planes hovered, as if at any moment they could drop bombs razing the flourishing city to the ground. Here a world of desolation filled the eyes, the mundane world plagued with misfortunes, but he returned in glory, bright and dazzling.
The intense contrast at the peak of the scene made his appearance increase to the point where it could shake one to the core.
The winter sunshine illuminated his body as he turned around to gaze towards the horizon. He raised his eyebrows and smiled. It was like a beautiful oil painting, a rich flower on earth.
The scene ends there.
This is exactly the scene which was praised by the hugely popular “v Jian Ju Zhuan Jia Ai Wei Er” who had millions of fans. Cold Night’s male lead Zhao Ming Shen returned to Shanghai by boat. She sent three Weibo messages in rapid succession, saying that, of the dramas she had seen this year, this was the most stunning first appearance of the lead actor!
And in regard to her statement, the netizens also gave a warm response.
“Right right right, this is it! I was so shocked when I was watching the TV. Is this Jiang Yi? It seemed as if I have never seen him before!”
“This performance reminds me of “Founding of the Tang Dynasty” from many years ago. The scene with the young Lin Shimin urging the horse forward and rushing towards us. The feelings were different but it was the same golden age for beautiful faces!”
“To think that before I used to think Jiang Yi wasn’t good looking. I really want to say to myself – you are really blind, ah!”
“The moment when he turned around, I knew, I had finally found my husband. [smile][smile][smile]”
Comments like those came through in an endless stream. Jiang Yi once again climbed into the Weibo hot topic list, and countless netizens expressed their love for him below, claiming, “Just that one look, I could stare at for years…”
Of course, at the same time Jiang Yi’s “golden age for beautiful faces” was talked about, there was also Cold Night.
From the effect of Jiang Yi’s appearance it could be seen that although it was a spy drama about the Republic of China, Cold Night was different from many works in the past. It not only used young, good-looking actors and actresses, but during the filming process they were not made into a rough, down to earth look. Rather, the beauty of the actors was given prominence.
In other words, the drama’s aim was the create an idolised spy drama.
Today, when spy dramas had already reached the end of the road and the “anti-Japanese drama” had become a joke, this strategic decision was no doubt correct. Because not only would it attract a large number of young viewers, but for those who were used to this kind of drama, they could experience watching something new.
This was to say nothing of the fact that while the drama was going in the direction of idolisation, it still guaranteed a high level of production quality.
Just like the stunning quality of the trailer that came out, Cold Night’s first episode hadn’t failed to live up to everyone’s expectations. Based on the high-quality original novel, after two excellent scriptwriters had worked together, the story explored the return of Zhao Ming Shen, a tycoon’s child, and the changes in him as well as Shanghai’s bund in depth. Because the conflict in the first few episodes revolved around the main character, it was easy to capture the audience’s hearts and make them feel affected by the fate of the character.
In the early years of dramas about the Republic of China they were very popular and they had a strong foundation among the people. The past few years they haven’t been popular, not because the audience was tired of the subject, but because there hadn’t been any sufficiently good works. Perhaps there were good dramas, but they failed to advertise and promote themselves properly, so they were not watched by everyone. One must know that in this age of the explosion of information, “fragrant wine fears no dark alley” (quality needs no advertising) was no longer practical.
It could not help but be said that this time, Cold Night was very fortunate. In the early stages the various news articles attracted enough attention. At the same time, when people who were merely curious came to watch they were awed by the exceedingly high attractiveness index of the main leads in the first episode.
After that, everything was to be expected.
Although it was always said nowadays, “seeing the face is enough, what storyline”, that was merely the fans’ way of thinking. For most of the ordinary viewers, the quality of the work was still very important. Cold Night was a very mature work in all aspects. Not only in having prestige, but having a plot that grasps how to use tension and makes people unable to stop watching. It smoothly broke away from the numerous other dramas. On the third day of broadcasting, the ratings reached number one and on the internet the number of views reached the top. Most importantly, discussion of the drama among the public remained high.
So, we finally get a glimpse at Cold Night – the drama that has been raising so much speculation in the story. Personally, I always feel like descriptions of dramas are over-done in these kind of webnovels, especially when they describe the shooting process. They make it seem like scenes are done in one shot, when in reality, numerous different camera angles are needed and actors have to repeat the same lines again and again to get all the film that is needed. (Just think, whenever you see an close-up on an actors face, they are facing a camera, not an actor). This scene described here isn’t so bad because it’s the finished product, but how big was their budget exactly? lol
Anyway, I hope everyone is staying safe and staying at home and self-isolating whenever possible.
Oh, and what do you think about the note at the top? Useful, or unnecessary?