by Cho Na & WandereR, February 5, 2021
53

Warning: Mild Spoilers

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INTRODUCTION

The Journey Across the Night  (native title 我在香港遇见他 also known as I Met Him in Hong Kong, Yoshi House Rental, I Live in X House in Hong Kong), is a slow burn psychological suspense thriller infused with mystery, supernatural and horror themes while embodying the premise of mental health disorder, as well as certain romance undertones.  It tells the story of Li Jia (Joseph Zeng), a young man whose family is afflicted with a genetic, mental health disorder that has caused the deaths of his mother and brother. His desperate search for a cure that will save him from suffering the same tragic fate takes him to Hong Kong where his journey of healing begins.

Genres: Mystery,  Horror,  Psychological,  Romance,  School,  Medical
Country: China
Episodes: 26
Duration: 45 minutes

THE ALLURE OF LI JIA'S STORY

  • In Li Jia’s quest for answers to his mental health, he discovers the true meaning of compassion, healing, and hope.  Watching this drama takes us along his fascinating journey and adventures where we observe his gradual evolution…
  • A glimpse into the complexities and intricacies of his state of mind that is shaped by the tragic past that haunts him.
  • The creation of a deep and meaningful bond of friendship where he learns not only to trust but also to entrust others with his deepest fears and insecurities.
  • Experiencing strong emotional attachment and affection that slowly manifests into feelings of love.
  • Encountering mysteries filled with colorful and strange characters whose fates are somehow mysteriously intertwined with his, leading to a discovery of purposeful connection and deeper understanding of the truth that he seeks.


PRODUCTION

One of the filming locations is the famous haunted building Sai Ying Pun Community Complex that was used as the background of Li Jia's first apartment.


Principal photography primarily took place in Hong Kong, showcasing iconic landmarks while certain filming locations also included Shenzhen, China.  Filming began in January 2019 and wrapped up in April 2019, while post-production was completed by early 2020 to allow for distribution promotions in time for the official premiere on Youku’s Suspense Theatre in September 2020. Youku’s Suspense Theatre, along with its competitor iQiyi’s Mist Theatre, was launched in 2020 as a special platform for screening suspense-themed productions to Mainland Chinese audiences.

The drama is directed by the hugely experienced Ju Xing Mao (巨兴茂), who had previously directed supernatural-themed productions such as Ferryman and its sequels, the Covid19-medical anthology drama Heroes In Harm's Way, the Republican war epics Brave Heart and its sequel, Yangko Dance and Dog Stick/Da Gou Gun.  He also stars as a supporting character in the drama (Source).

Director Ju Xing Mao is teaching the kids how a kissing scene should be done! ;D


The screenplay is written by the highly-rated screenwriter Rao Hui (饶晖) who also co-produces this drama. In addition to being the associate professor in the Department of Film and Television of the Central Academy of Drama, he also wrote the screenplay for numerous dramas over the last 20 years as well as the award-winning films Children of the Stars and How is the Fish Today?  The co-writer is the up-and-coming screenwriter Ji Jin (金津) whose works include the web dramas Sai Xiaohua’s Great Future and Adam & Eve. (Source 1, Source 2)

It is executive produced by Gao Bo Yang (高博洋) who also headed productions for notable dramas such as Black Lighthouse, Original Sin, and Siege in Fog.  This is a joint production between Youku (Mainland Chinese streaming platform), Shenzhen Guangheli Film & Television Media, and Light Force Media.


MAIN CHARACTERS AND CAST


Li Jia 

Both his mother and brother suffered from schizophrenia and eventually died at the age of 24. Burdened by the mental pressure of this hereditary and genetic condition, he makes the pivotal decision of going to Hong Kong to become a graduate student of Chen Ming Xuan, a senior professor of psychiatry, while facing the countdown of only half a year before his 24th birthday. Due to the unavailability of lodging at the university dormitory, he has to rent a room everywhere and as a result, encountered a series of mysterious strangers. 

Portrayed by Joseph Zeng Shun Xi

A talented performer who started his career as a singer for the boy band Fresh Geeks, his breakthrough role came in Fighter of the Destiny in 2017. Since then, he has appeared in iconic dramas such as Heavenly Sword and Dragon Slaying Sabre as the main character of Zhang Wu Ji.  He also took on the famous role of Wu Xie in The Ultimate Note, which is part of the popular Lost Tomb franchise. He will soon appear in historical dramas Rebirth for You, Heroes, and Yan Gui Xi Chuang Yue. The opening theme for this drama is performed by him.


Zhang Cha Cha 

A carefree Hong Kong girl with a mysterious background, who claims to be a well-known property agent. Beneath her enthusiasm and outgoing personality, lies a sad and difficult past. Although she masks her pain with a casual lifestyle and indifferent attitude, she truly longs to be understood and cared for. On the first day that Li Jia arrives in Hong Kong, she rents an apartment to him, and the two get acquainted. A chameleon in fashion: short hair in one scene, long hair in another scene; feminine dress in one scene, baggy overall in another scene. Eccentric, a colorful character, a rainbow for Li Jia

Portrayed by Cherry Ngan (Yan Zhou Ling)

A Hong Kong’er who has appeared in numerous productions and won several accolades, The Journey Across the Night is only her second drama appearance.  She is mostly known for her works in Hong Kong films such as Nightfall (with Nick Cheung and Simon Yam), and Floating City (with Aaron Kwok). She has been awarded Best New Actress by the Hong Kong Directors’ Guild and nominated for Best Actress in the 50th Golden Horse Awards.  



Shi Cheng 

A high-achieving and a bright young man who hails from a well-to-do family. He chose to study medicine because of a girl. Cheerful, funny and loyal, he eventually becomes good friends with Li Jia and Zhang Cha Cha and accompanies them during their mysterious encounters, including one of his own.



Portrayed by John Zhou Cheng Ao

A relative newcomer to the industry who has appeared mostly in youth and romance dramas. His notable works include My Huckleberry Friends, Deep in My Heart and the more recent highly rated production, Nothing But Thirty. He sings one song for the drama's OST.




Xiao Xi

An extremely mysterious person, also known as Teacher Xi Li, who is often seen wearing fluttering robes and has handsome and delicate features. He also does not say a word at all but communicates using his facial expressions. This character is capable of making girls fall for without him saying anything. He takes care of his neighbourhood through inexplicably peculiar means and is usually found at the beef noodle store where he stays with his apprentices. He is especially considerate when dealing with Zhang Cha Cha, whom he shares a close master-student relationship with.


Portrayed by Feng Jian Yu

A mainland Chinese pop singer who debuted in 2015, he has appeared in several notable Chinese historical dramas such as Men with Sword 2, and The Legend of White Snake. He usually performs the OSTs for his dramas, including the ending theme for The Journey Across the Night.




  1. Chen Ming Xuan

Li Jia's most admired mentor is also the best person he hopes to give him the answers to cure the mental illness that plagues his family. Li Jia has always been extremely cooperative with his guidance and advice, but also as a result, Li Jia remains evasive and secretive about his life and feelings to his newfound friends.



Portrayed by Lawrence Ng (Wu Qi Hua)

A well known Hong Kong actor since the late 1980s, he has predominantly worked with TVB and appeared in many iconic Cantonese dramas. Interestingly, like Joseph Zeng, he had also played the main role of Zhang Wu Ji 17 years earlier, in the 2001 version of The Heaven Sword & the Dragon Sabre.




RECURRING ELEMENTS


A remarkable friendship with a blend of colourful personalities:
the analytical Li Jia, the pragmatic Cha Cha, and the lively Shi Cheng


Trust in Friendship, Bromance & Romance

The friendship between the main and recurring characters are particular highlights of the show. In addition to the friendship between Li Jia, Shi Cheng and Cha Cha, we also observe the teamwork showcased by Xiao Xi and his apprentices as they set about saving their neighborhood from strange occurrences.

The bond between Li Jia and Shi Cheng develops from friendship in the beginning to bromance, especially during the more difficult moments experienced by both of them where they provided each other with the emotional support needed to overcome the challenges that they faced. Li Jia’s taciturn and brooding demeanor is balanced by Shi Cheng’s outgoing and bubbly personality.


Likewise, the stark difference between Li Jia and Cha Cha’s characteristics that sets them apart initially gradually drew them closer together and even inspiring Li Jia to slowly abandon his cautious nature and to open up his feelings and emotions. Throughout the entire show, there has been more than a hint of an underlying romance brewing between these two characters.  


Watchers who are purely fans of horror/mystery/action/crime genres won't like romance included here. However, since this drama is not based on any action novel/comic where there are two male leads only, the original script is written with a romance between ML and FL in it, as seen throughout the drama. The memory of seeing Cha Cha for the first time when she was skateboarding next to his bus, flashing back on Li Jia's mind while he's fighting a villain in the water. Thus, the first impression counts.


Bringing Closure to Mysteries That Haunt

Six mini-mysteries are spread over 26 episodes, with the final arc bringing closure to the overarching story concerning Li Jia’s affliction. Each mystery presents its own captivating and colorful characters, with varying levels of suspense, supernatural thrills and, to some extent, elements of horror. By solving each mystery, Li Jia inadvertently moves ever closer to attaining the answers that he seeks for all the doubts pervading his mind. Though our protagonist thinks that he has schizophrenia, he does in fact appear to be the sanest of many psychotic characters in the drama. His pure curiosity, deductive reasoning, and sleuthing skill kick in first in many cases.


Compassion in the Darkness

The prominent theme is compassion in this drama, with many recurrences in several characters and almost every case. Li Jia is definitely a compassionate person. As someone who is tortured by the past, he understands what others with mental incapability go through. Strangers and so-called villains in many cases can see Li Jia's compassion throughout the drama. 

Interestingly, the misconception of general people against the victims of psychological issues are represented by his friends' initial reactions:

  • Cha Cha, who is steely and practical, will be ignorant/indifferent and say: I already have too much on my plate, why care about others?
  • Shi Cheng, who is impulsive and emotional, will be scared/run away and say: Don't understand them, they are scary. Better not to cross their paths.
Right from the beginning, the drama shows compassion as a significant theme. In this scene, Li Jia and Cha Cha helped an estranged neighbor who collapsed on the hallway. While Cha Cha was doing first aid/CPR on the man, Li Jia asked around for help, but no neighbor wanted to step out not even called an ambulance. Li Jia and Cha Cha took the man to the hospital themselves.

Enchanting Music That Captures The Aura

The OST features the following tracks: (click on each song title to direct you to a Youtube music video)

Listen to the Wind by Rao Wei (饶威)


CONCLUSION

The Journey Across the Night is a thoughtfully written drama based on the premise of mental illness and interweaves elements of mystery and suspense with themes of friendship, bromance and romance. The compelling story draws you in slowly but surely as it induces introspection and evokes emotions in following Li Jia’s journey of healing, hope and compassion.

Many thanks for your precious time in reading our article about this truly riveting drama. We do hope that we have at least convinced you to give it a watch and that it brings you much enjoyment as it did for us!

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK!


CreditsWe do not own any of the images; credits go to their respective owners. The images are from drama screenshots, official posters, and character stills are taken from MyDramaList. Other image sources: Joseph Zeng 1 and 2Cherry Ngan, John Zhou 1 and 2Feng Jian Yu 1 and 2Lawrence NgRao Wei, and Zuo Li. Gifs are from: drama official Weibo account (Intro gif) and other gifs are made by Cho Na from behind-the-scene clips and drama screenshots.


Edited by: Yuanwei (1st editor) 

psychological zhou cheng ao mental health the journey across the night joseph zeng zeng shun xi schizophrenia ju xing mao cherry ngan yan zhou ling john zhou feng jian yu lawrence ng wu qi hua

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