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Chinese Guide to Blossoms Shanghai, Wong Kar-wai’s New Series

by | Feb 1, 2024

Blossoms Shanghai | That's Mandarin

In just a few weeks, the 30-episode series directed by Wong Kar-wai has become one of China’s most talked-about dramas in years. Here’s what you need to know about 繁花 (Fánhuā), Blossoms Shanghai.

繁花 (Fánhuā) Q&A


This article introduces the popular Chinese series “Blossoms Shanghai,” providing a spoiler-free overview of the storyline, characters, and backstory 🍿

Q: What’s the Story About?

繁花 (Fánhuā) tells the story of a self-made millionaire A Bao, who’s journey mirrors Shanghai’s transformation amid rapid economic growth in the early 1990s.

Businessman | That's Mandarin

Ā Bǎo
A Bao

Q: Where is the Idea From?

The TV series is based on the Chinese novel “Blossoms” written by Jin Yucheng (金宇澄 Jīn Yǔchéng), first published in 2012.

Fanhua Book | That's Mandarin


Q: Who’s the Director?

The series was directed by Shanghai-born film-maker Wong Kar-wai, who spent the first five years of his life in the city.

Every movie directed by Wong Kar-wai is considered a significant cultural event, so his TV series debut, “Blossoms Shanghai” was eagerly anticipated not only in China but also by movie enthusiasts worldwide.

Fanhua Director | That's Mandarin

Wáng Jiāwèi
Wong Kar-wai

Q: What’s Special About the Series?

繁花 (Fánhuā) is the 3rd movie in Wong Kar-wai’s series of “love letters” to Shanghai 💛 Filming began in Shanghai Film Park in Songjiang District in 2020, and it took 3 years to wrap everything up.

Wong Kar-wai draws inspiration from his nostalgic memories of 1990s Shanghai. The scenes are bathed in a warm, golden light, beautifully capturing the essence of the era. Whether it’s glimpses of the Huangpu River, traditional homes, or iconic landmarks like the Oriental Pearl Tower, these elements contribute to the show’s distinct charm.

Q: How Long is the Series?

The series is 30 episodes long, with 50 minutes per episode.

Q: Is There an English Version?

Not at the moment. The series is only available in Mandarin (普通话 pǔtōnghuà) and Shanghainese (沪语 hùyǔ), with subtitles in Mandarin.

Q: Where Can I Watch the Series?

“Blossoms Shanghai” is available on several online streaming platforms, such as Tencent Video or iQIYI.

Tencent Video | That's Mandarin

Téngxùn Shìpín
Tencent Video

iQIYI | That's Mandarin


Watching Tips

Since the show is currently available only in Mandarin and Shanghainese, it might be challenging for Chinese beginners, and is more suitable for intermediate and advanced levels. The actors speak fast, so you will have to rely heavily on subtitles.

You can also just sit back and enjoy the visuals. The series beautifully captures the mood in Shanghai in the 90s.

And if you start feeling overwhelmed by the plot, mind that many Chinese netizens felt the same way:

Huàmiàn shì měi de, jùqíng shì kàn budǒng de.
The visuals are beautiful, but the story line – impossible to understand.

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