On August 6, Hunan Satellite TV began airing Flowers in Fog <花非花霧非霧>, the first original screenplay by Taiwanese novelist/screenwriter Chiung Yao (瓊瑤) in fifteen years. Filmed in France and starring Taiwanese actress Ruby Lin (林心如), mainland Chinese actress Li Sheng (李晟), and Korean actor Joo Jin Mo (朱鎮模), Flowers in Fog may be the 75-year-old novelist’s final project.
Ever since the popularity of Princess Returning Pearl <還珠格格>, Chiung Yao’s dramas have always been synonymous with aesthetics and romance. Flowers in Fog does not disappoint in this respect, and it even affords Chiung Yao a chance to dip her feet in an entirely new genre: suspense. The first three episodes show Qi Yuan (Joo Jin Mo) recalling his romantic getaways with An Qi (Ruby Lin), who committed suicide for unknown reasons. As he is mired in grief, he is shocked to see that the table before him holds a card emblazoned with a mysterious black angel.
Viewers have praised the drama for its well-planned and engaging storyline, as well as its eye-catching visuals. Similar to the 2007 drama Dreams Link <又見一簾幽夢>, Flowers in Fog was filmed in France and features a stunning array of aesthetic beauty, from ancient castles and churches to oceans of flowers to ports filled with sailboats. “The filming locations we picked are not the ones that French people will pick when they film movies,” Chiung Yao revealed. “If you want to see the most romantic settings in France, don’t watch French dramas. Watch Chiung Yao’s dramas!”
However, other viewers have dismissed the dialogue as “corny,” which they saw as typical Chiung Yao fare. Some fans have also said that Flowers in Fog bears the shadow of her previous works, particularly The Wild Goose on the Wing <雁兒在林梢> and The Heart with Million Knots <心有千千結>. One netizen likened it to a “mish-mash of Chiung Yao’s works” and said the novelist was simply rehashing the same storylines.
Despite contradicting response, audience interest has been high, and Chiung Yao has said many times that Flowers in Fog is her most complete work and that she holds high expectations for it. “I very much hope that everyone will tell me, ‘Although you’re getting old, you’ve still created a classic!’” she shared. “No matter how you may assess it, it will still be my pride.”
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