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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Gao Yuanyuan
Li Bin
Yan Anlian.
Directors
Wang Xiaoshuai.
Screenwriters
Lao Ni.
Running Time
121 minutes

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Shanghai Dreams
Subtle drama from China, set in the 8os


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Plot
It is '80s China, and a teenage girl who has grown up all her life in a small town has no desire to follow her father's wishes and relocate to Shanghai (the city of his youth) at the first opportunity. but he will go to great lengths to ensure that she has no roots to tie her - including sabotaging her relationship with a local factory worker.


Review
Shanghai Dreams

Wang Xiaoshuai draws on his own experiences for this slow-burning tale of domestic discord, set in the remote southern Chinese province of Guizhou in the early 1980s. But he still struggles to draw us into teenager Gao Yuanyuan’s frustration at her father’s decision to quit their declining industrial home and return to the city he was compelled to leave during the Cultural Revolution. Her reluctance to leave her best friend and an amorous factory worker smacks more of adolescent caprice than true attachment, and this sense of contrivance undercuts the more considered insights into the consequences of socio-economic betterment.
 
Claustrophobic interiors and grim landscapes reinforce the aura of Sixth Generation realism, but its episodic nature and sketchy characterisation prove a drag.


Verdict
Low-key slice of Sixth Generation realism that raises some interesting points about China's recent economic leap forward, but fails to draw us into the core domestic melodrama.


Reviewed by David Parkinson

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Shanghai Dreams
Empire Star Rating

...okay...

I prefer dubs to subtitles, but i guess no-one could be bothered to have the time to dub it as maybe...it wasn't good enough. The plot is a bit different (is that good or bad?) and the acting is quite satisfactory but is lacks what is needed to be a great memorable film. OVERALL: Memorable film? Who knows... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by EFurtless at 20:34, 20 July 2008 | Report This Post


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