TV series ‘Life is a long quiet river’ sparks discussion about homes, role of females
Published: Mar 22, 2022 10:48 PM
Photo: Douban

Photo: Douban

 A new TV series Life is a Long Quiet River focusing on an ordinary family in Shanghai has sparked discussion online about issues such as the importance of owning a home and the role of females in a family.

Following the hit TV series A Lifelong Journey, the new show also focuses on the lives of ordinary Chinese families, but instead of being set in Northeast China, it is set in the more developed urban environment of Shanghai.

The TV series started airing on Chinese video platform iQIYI on Thursday. It tells the story of the Gu family, and the two leading roles are both women. One is the eldest daughter, Gu Qingyu, played by actress Tong Yao, and the other, Feng Xiaoqin played by Hai Qing, is the wife of the younger son.

The story includes the buying of a home and the effect on the three Gu siblings, revealing the ups and downs in their lives and those of people in the same area. It also portrays the effects and the experience of buying a home on the spiritual and psychological level.

Gu is a local resident in Shanghai, while Feng moves to the city and lives with the family after getting married to Gu's younger brother. The two women have many conflicts over money and the house, making audiences feel it is similar to their problems in normal life.

Feng believes she needs to buy a house in Shanghai, as it is symbolic of her belonging in the city. But when she tries to borrow money from Gu, she is refused. This worsens their relationship.

"I want to write the story of people's continuous efforts to make a better life and the pursuit of their dreams by taking real estate in Shanghai as the entry point," said Teng Xiaolan, scriptwriter of the series and also writer of the previous show.

"Do people really need to buy house in the city? And can a house provide a feeling of safety?" one netizen asked while reviewing the show. 

The turning point in the relationship between the two women is the death of Feng's husband in an accident. The two characters have different educational backgrounds and experiences, but they gradually start to understand each other and unite to help the whole family.

Gu is an independent woman with a successful career and high income, while Feng is a housewife who has to take care of the daily life of the family.

The two characters show the different kinds of women in society but both can get sympathy from viewers as they have their own problems, including a heavy burden from housework and the pressure to get married from parents.

"The TV series focuses on the warmth and kindness of life and human nature. There is pain, but it passes. There is the pressure of urban society, but the emphasis is more on the efforts and self-improvement of the characters in the face of the pressure," said the director Teng Huatao.

"Showing the truth and real feelings help to make it realistic," Shi Wenxue, a cultural critic based in Beijing, told the Global Times on Tuesday.