Wang Yihan

  At the end of the year and the beginning of the year when big dramas are frequent, the TV series "Rival" can break out of the siege as a dark horse, which stems from its innovative attempt to the genre of spy war dramas.

  In our country, there has always been a market for spy war dramas, because most of these types are dominated by strong plots, suspenseful and thrilling.

The background of the story is mostly set after the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, the War of Liberation and the founding of New China-focusing on the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the War of Liberation is called "Spy War". Kite, etc.; those who focus on the founding of new China are called "anti-special", and their representative works include "No Regrets Tracking", "Oath Silent", "Mask" and so on.

These TV series reflect the struggle of hidden fronts in different historical stages, but because the era is far from reality, it is very difficult to achieve empathy with the audience in addition to the thrills.

Therefore, spy war dramas of the era will focus on highlighting the protagonist's family and country feelings and revolutionary beliefs, in order to move the audience.

In recent years, in line with the changes in the situation at home and abroad, contemporary national security themes have increasingly appeared in the audience's field of vision, such as "Dance of the Storm" starring Guli Nazha and William Chan and "Eye of the Storm" starring Yang Mi and Zhang Binbin, etc. , although the distance between the audience and the audience is shortened in time and space, it still does not break the barrier between the subject and the audience.

  The most difficult thing in the creation of spy war dramas is how to grasp the distance and the nearness.

"Rival" does not use 007-style dazzling skills with a sense of suspension and unfathomable espionage tasks to show people, but uses a cat-and-mouse game under the background of the real era and life logic to close the distance between the audience and the subject. Let the audience sigh and introspect while watching the play, thus creating a sense of crisis that is close at hand.

In this process, the change of narrative perspective is its most outstanding feature, but it is precisely because of the change of narrative perspective that the pros and cons feel unbalanced, which becomes a major regret of the show.

  The change of narrative perspective has narrowed the distance between the subject and the audience

  Many people watch "Rivals", and the most prominent feeling is the quality of life.

Indeed, compared to traditional spy war dramas, "Rival" does present more life scenes and emotional details, but this is not the uniqueness of "Rival". The trivial performances of the world's prime minister, the streets and alleys of the city, and the fireworks have already started the attempt of life spy war drama.

  The innovation of "Rival" lies in the change of narrative perspective, as well as the new look and realistic texture presented by this change.

The screenwriter Wang Xiaogun did not tell the story from the perspective of the national security personnel according to the conventional routine, but took a unique approach from the perspective of the spy personnel lurking in the mainland, interweaving their real and ordinary daily life with the thrilling espionage action. We show the exhausted, thin ice life of a middle-aged spy.

  Li Tang and Ding Meixi, spies who have been in hiding for many years, have a normal public identity: taxi drivers and middle school teachers.

As spies, they are often unscrupulous in order to achieve their goals. In addition to conventional methods such as camouflage, tracking, and eavesdropping, they often perform tasks by means of seduction, torture, and assassination.

When there is no task, they are like all middle-aged couples, worrying about the house, children and money, and bickering about their parents.

They also had ideals and love, and had the same joys and sorrows, standards of good and evil, and value judgments as ordinary people.

If they hadn't gone down this road of no return, they might have lived an ordinary and stable life like all middle-aged couples.

  The benefits of shifting narrative perspectives are obvious.

The audience watched the lives of the spy couple Li Tang and Ding Meixi from a multi-dimensional perspective. They were "bad guys", but they were also flesh-and-blood individuals.

For example, Ding Meixi brushed her teeth after every seduction, and Li Tang went to see her teeth several times but was reluctant to spend money, etc.

The kindness in Li Tang's nature kept him in a tangle all the time, and it also made him disgusted and tired of being a spy but couldn't get out of it.

In order to dispel Guoan's suspicions, he and Ding Meixi pretended to go to the Civil Affairs Bureau for a divorce, but at the door of the Civil Affairs Bureau they quarreled with their long-suppressed anger.

In their fake relationship, in addition to the friendship in war, it is more of a relationship between husband and wife.

Even rely on each other more than ordinary couples, the two support each other and redeem each other.

Real character situations and emotional dilemmas make audiences believe that such people really exist around us.

  These trivial things in life that are no different from ordinary people have narrowed the distance between the audience and the subject, allowing the audience to empathize with the characters in the play and sigh for their fate.

At the same time, it also shortens the distance between the audience and "national security", and provides the audience with a dangerous demonstration, allowing the audience to experience the camouflage of spies while marveling at the scale, and increase the alertness of national security awareness; life is not The weather is calm, and the reason we turn a blind eye to the danger is that we have state security personnel with it.

  Changes in narrative perspective bring challenges to positive characterization

  Using the villain as the protagonist is an innovative attempt by the screenwriter, and it is also an adventurous way of writing.

The risk is that it is easy for the audience to empathize with the villain as the protagonist, and eventually form a wrong value judgment.

Just like "Conquest" many years ago, the big brother of the underworld played by Sun Honglei once caused confusion in the values ​​of many audiences.

  "Rival" handles this very carefully. While using the quality of life to shape the villain, it also inserts plots where the two perform tasks by unscrupulous means from time to time, which makes the audience question and hate the two, and finally arouses the audience's own value judgment. Works reach a consensus on values.

At the same time, although the narrative is unfolded from the perspective of the villain, the creator did not always focus on the villain, but continued to expand the main body of expression as the plot unfolded, from the gaze of the spy couple to the positive and negative The attention of the two groups, and the battle between the national security personnel and the spy group is integrated into the lives of both sides.

Corresponding to the situation that the spy group is in a hurry to be exposed all day long, its mission fails repeatedly, the relationship is tense, and the funds are lacking.

  As a result, although it has a similar core design to the American drama "American Spy", "Rival" presents a completely different texture and spirit of the times, and successfully reflects the life of our era through the lives of positive and negative characters. methods and values.

What determines the outcome of the good and the evil is actually the confrontation of belief and belief. We can see that the potential of Li Tang and his wife is completely passive. They pay more attention to how to make money, how to prevent their children from falling in love, how to use medical insurance to see a doctor, and how to successfully Birth of a second child.

They are not fighting for the country and their beliefs, they persevere just to get the funds and pensions promised by the "superior"; in addition, Ru Yaoji, President Wu, Lin Yu and others also have their own selfish desires.

On the other hand, the national security personnel, although no one talked about their beliefs, their attitude towards work and life has already reflected their persistence in the cause and their loyalty to the party and the country.

  However, using the negative character as the protagonist still brings difficulties to the creation, that is, the problem of the weakening of the positive character.

The screenwriter also gave the national security personnel a civilian perspective and secular emotions. Duan Yingjiu, the task force leader played by Yan Bingyan, is like the female detective played by Kate Winslet in "Nightmare in the East". It was a miserable life, her husband was going to divorce, her old mother was defrauded, her son was bullied by gangsters, and her diabetes was getting worse.

However, she was meticulous in her work. She was able to find the spy's hiding spot through her takeaway habit, and discovered Ding Meixi's unusualness through the way her son's wound was bandaged. Finally, she dug out the deeply hidden spy organization.

The creator hopes to express the idea of ​​this: National security personnel are also ordinary people, and they also need a stable life, but there will always be people who give up their ego for them, and their sacrifices and sacrifices are light-hearted, in exchange for our current peaceful and peaceful life.

But compared with the freshness and impact brought by the spy couple Li Tang and Ding Meixi, Duan Yingjiu is not uncommon in the sequence of similar dramas, so it seems to be quite satisfactory, even giving people the feeling of supporting roles .

  (The author is an associate researcher at the Institute of Film and Television Art, China National Academy of Arts)