Saturday, April 4, 2020

Let's Talk About "The Longest Day in Chang'an" 《长安十二时辰》

Okay, so I finally finished watching "The Longest Day in Chang'an" 《长安十二时辰》on Netflix.  This is a massive new period drama from China, with 48 episodes for your extended viewing enjoyment. The basic plot is the Department of City Security in the capital of the Tang Dynasty, Chang'an, is aware of a plot to carry out some sort of massive terror attack during the Lantern Festival. They recruit Zhang Xiaoying, former soldier and security operative, from death row to lead the investigation--but they only have 24 hours to break the case.

The show apparently borrowed the format of the television show "24", but these episodes each cover 15 to 30 minutes. But before we go any further, watch these music videos of the two main songs with scenes from the show. They're basically trailers for the show and will give you a great sampler of what the show looks like--also great music.

短歌行 (A Short Ballad) "Tanka"

《清平乐》 "Spring Day at the Royal Palace"
(sung by Zhang Zining of "Rocket Girls 101")

First off I have to say the production is movie quality rather than the typical cheap-looking TV show quality.  The locations and the costumes are visually stunning.  Huge effort (and expense) went into keeping everything as historical as possible. In some of  the daytime outdoor scenes the lighting is a bit off, but not badly. The main themes are intrigue, conspiracy, action, tragic back stories, and unrequited love.

I you want to delve a bit deeper into it, there also some cool "making of" videos about the series:

(this one is about the various ways to bow or show respect in Tang China; 4:14)

(this one is a detailed look at the clothing and armor of the Tang Chinese and foreigners: 4:32)

(this one is about the makeup and hair styles)

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