by Victoria Arguello
BUENOS AIRES, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- A month since China's TV series "Nirvana in Fire" debuted in Argentina, the viewers here have been hooked on the romantic period drama.
Based on a historical novel of the same name, the series has ignited enthusiasm to learn more about China's history and culture.
Argentina's America TV network, which began broadcasting the series on Jan. 7 during the midnight slot, soon had a hit on its hands. Viewers were gripped by the tale of a young man who sets out to vindicate his family's honor amid warring rival dynasties in sixth-century China.
"We are surprised it has done so well and that people are amazed by the material," said Liliana Parodi, who is in charge of programming for America TV, adding that the series bridges "the distance between one country and the other," offering Argentinians "a very positive look at China."
The program marks the first time America TV has aired a show that is "so distinct" from the ordinary contents of the network, and it has been so well-received by the public, she explained.
"From the time we were young, we have always been captivated by that millenary country, with its history, its politics, its number of people, its output. Each of us has a very direct tie to that country," she added.
"Nirvana in Fire" has generated hundreds of comments on social networks, "not just from members of the Chinese community, but from many Argentinians," said Mercedes Demasi, a representative of Argentine production agency Integra Industrias Culturales, which helped to bring the series to Latin America.
The series has something for everyone, from court intrigue to romance, from lush landscapes to elaborate royal costumes, all offering a window into Chinese customs, lifestyles and ways of thinking, she added.
Angie Behrmann, an Argentine painter who specializes in Chinese calligraphy, said she watched the series to practice her Chinese, but was fascinated by the story and the way it was told.
"The production level had me gripped. Everything is really well done. The plot is exceptional, it is really well written. Everything that takes place is so exciting," she said.
The painter said she has learned more about Chinese culture and gotten to know different places in China thanks to the series. "The country was opened up to me. It's as if I were to show you Argentina through a series."
"I liked it a lot because I learned a ton about the culture, the right way to address people, how to speak, what to do, what not to do, how they think differently. It was very enriching to see the series," she added.
Claudia Brumec, another fan of the show, said: "I am watching it because it is an oriental culture very different from our own, because it has that matter of wisdom, of learning from experience, of calm, of patience, of going beyond the obvious."
"The first episode really caught my attention: the landscapes they showed, the messenger pigeon, the costumes, the staging, the palaces... All these things that we are not accustomed to are very interesting," said Brumec, adding that "you can tell a lot of work went into it."
"Nirvana in Fire" was a resounding success in China, where it was viewed by millions and won some 50 awards of different categories.