Source: ThinkChina (3/1/24)
Between Shanghai and Hong Kong: Blossoms Shanghai as a tale of two cities
By Ying Zhu, Professor, Academy of Film, Hong Kong Baptist University
Academic Ying Zhu observes that in Blossoms Shanghai directed by Wong Kar-wai, Shanghai is vivid, vibrant and evocative of both the glamour of a colonial Hong Kong and the hustle and bustle of a gilded age Shanghai. The TV drama speaks of the historical relationship between the two cities, and when the bright lights have dimmed, the ruins of the spectacle and the broken dreams. If geopolitical reshuffling in recent years has diminished Hong Kong’s lustre as a first-tier global city and the link between China and the rest of the world, what does the future have in store for Shanghai?
Blossoms Shanghai (《繁花》), the 30-episode TV drama, captures in a prosaic fashion life in the fast lane of A Bao, a dashing Shanghai man with a can-do spirit who accumulates dazzling wealth during Shanghai’s boom times. Market speculation and import-export manipulation were shortcuts to getting rich, and Bao is dexterous at both. Blossoms Shanghai captures a moment of Shanghai in golden glory and a state of euphoria.
The impressionistic and stylised images of Shanghai in Blossoms Shanghai attests to the director Wong Kar-wai’s abiding yearning for Shanghai, the city of his birth. Blossoms Shanghai also carries a torch for Hong Kong, with the drama bearing imprints of Wong’s adoptive city, from his generous appropriation of Hong Kong pop for soundtracks to his actual plot linking Hong Kong to Shanghai of the 1990s. The Shanghai in Wong’s cinematic imagination is vivid, vibrant and evocative of both the glamour of a colonial Hong Kong and the hustle and bustle of a gilded age Shanghai. Continue reading