• White Deer Plain

White Deer Plain (Photo : ying wang/YouTube)

The sudden shelving of the new Chinese drama “White Deer Plain” is puzzling TV viewers since a specially made footage of scenes carefully selected from the drama was shown to Tsinghua University students on Thursday, April 13. Adapted from the Chinese literature classic novel by Chen Zhongshi, the footage ran for 90 minutes.

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Mysterious Disappearance

However, it remains a mystery why it was shelved suddenly. It did not help that Jiangsu TV and Anhui TV, broadcasters of “White Deer Plain,” posted only identical messages on their official Weibo accounts, CMP reported. Their explanation, which reads, “In order to obtain better broadcasting results, the drama White Deer Plan will be broadcast selectively,” is rather cryptic.

China.org noted that it took the producers of the epic drama 17 years to prepare and make “White Deer Plain” at a cost of 230 million yuan or $33.39 million. To have a better understanding of the story’s background and for the actors to give great performances, the creators, cast and crew went to rural areas in China to experience life in the countryside for one month before they starting filming the drama.

Historic Epic

However, it is more than just a drama about rural life but a historic epic, Liu Jin, director of “White Deer Plain” said. The novel follows the hard life and spiritual pursuits of several generations of White Deer Plain residents in Shaanxi Province. The drama is also a realistic reflection of Chinese contemporary history because it mirrors the changes in the countryside in China over the first half of the 20th century.

The director describes the drama as the most difficult novel to be made into a film. The novel, published in 1993, was awarded the Mao Dun Literature Prize in 1997. It had sold more than 1.6 million copies. The 85-episode drama was supposed to air on Anhui TV, Jingshu Tv and www.le.com beginning April 16.

This is not the first time that a drama was shelved. In January 2015, China’s censors ordered the producers of the period drama “The Empress of China” to be edited because of scenes showing plunging necklines and cleavages.