‘To The Wonder’ showing beauty of Xinjiang’s Altay acclaimed at Asian premier
Published: Apr 28, 2024 09:44 PM
Main cast of To the Wonder Photo: Courtesy of iQIYI

Main cast of To the Wonder Photo: Courtesy of iQIYI

Chinese mini TV series To The Wonder won applause at its recent Asian premiere for its light plot, simple and natural audio-visual effects and innovative adaption. 

With the inspiration from Chinese writer Li Juan's essay collection, director Teng Congcong said at an event that the creation of the 8-epsiode series is "the encounter between idealism and idealism."

The director managed to covert the stylized short essays into a full picture of individual growth and the changes of the times, the story of the integration of China's ethnic groups. In terms of filming, the series shows the nature and lifestyle of the Altay Prefecture in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. 

According to the director, the story follows the life of a young adolescent and the optimism of a simple mother as an emotional link, and presents the folk customs of the people living in Altay and the simple and perseverant spirit of the herdsmen as well as their respect for nature and finding the true self in life. 

Teng said there are all kinds of stories taking place on the vast land of China, and there are so many wonderful topics that can be developed. And it is "the responsibility that creators should have." She believes that the creator's mind, soul, or perspective on the world should be farther than that of the audience.

Writer Li Juan shared her life in Altay in her collection of essays To The Wonder. She lived with her mother, grandmother and other relatives since she was a child and made a living by running a grocery store and working as a tailor. She even raised chickens and ducks, collected mushrooms in the forest, and followed the herding ethnic Kazak people into the mountainous area. 

The daughter Zhang Fengxia (played by Zhou Yiran) and the mother Li Wenxiu (played by Ma Yili) not only represent the tenacity, openness and wisdom of Chinese women's life, but also lead the audience's attention to the in-depth thinking of the intergenerational relationship between mother and daughter.

Director Teng saw the lonely and courageous side of the heroine Zhang Fengxia, "Living alone in the wilderness, she has her own little skills in life and has some chivalrous spirit." Chinese actress Ma Yili also said that Zhang living in Altay "which is far away from the city, and is a different woman." When she decided to play this role, she "had some questions and troubles in life." After finishing filming in Altay, she returned home and felt that her "heart never left Altay."

The series To The Wonder was filmed in Altay, where the picturesque natural scenery has become the unique label of this work. When talking about the magnificent scenery of Altay, actress Ma Yili commented: "I can't tell everyone how beautiful that place is. No mechanical lens can record the beauty of that place, because its beauty is related to air, breathing and humidity. I feel like the two months in Altay are like a beautiful dream. I hope everyone can get away from the hustle and bustle and dream there."