Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe to Empire!
Save up to 63%
Halo 5 Guardians
The Master Chief returns
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

Gao Yuanyuan
Li Bin
Yan Anlian.
Wang Xiaoshuai.
Lao Ni.
Running Time
121 minutes

4 Star Empire Rating
2 Star Empire Rating
2 Star Empire Rating
Intern, The
3 Star Empire Rating
Nightmare, The
3 Star Empire Rating

5 Star Empire Rating
Man With A Movie Camera
5 Star Empire Rating
Salt Of The Earth, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Song Of The Sea
5 Star Empire Rating
Look Of Silence, The
5 Star Empire Rating

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

submit to reddit

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.

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.

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

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Shanghai Dreams
Empire Star Rating


I prefer dubs to subtitles, but i guess no-one could be bothered to have the time to dub it as 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

Denis Villeneuve Talks Sicario
On his cartel thriller and the upcoming Blade Runner sequel

Tomorrowland: The Viewing Guide
Brad Bird talks through his sci-fi adventure, scene by scene

Empire Meets Ridley Scott
The great director on The Martian, Blade Runner 2 and the Prometheus sequels

My Movie Life: Justin Kurzel
The Macbeth director on how Rocky changed his life and the worst ever date movie

Life On Mars: Trips To The Red Planet
A dozen of cinema's Martian misadventures

All Hail Macbeth! The Scottish Play On Film
By the pricking of our thumbs, ten adaptations this way come(s)

10 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Toys You’ll Want To Own
Falcon quad copter? BB-8 Sphero? We’re already asking for pay raises…

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe now and save up to 63%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)