Beijing, 1902: an enterprising young portrait photographer named Liu Jinglun, keen on new technology, befriends a newly-arrived Englishman who's brought projector, camera, and Lumière-brothers' shorts to open the Shadow Magic theater. Liu's work with Wallace brings him conflict with tradition and his father's authority, complicated by his falling in love with Ling, daughter of Lord Tan, star of Beijing's traditional opera. Liu sees movies as his chance to become wealthy and worthy of Ling. When the Shadow Magic pair are invited to show the films to the Empress Dowager, things look good. But, is disaster in the script? And, can movies preserve tradition even as they bring change? Written by
A very sweet movie about a young Chinese man enamored of western technology and an Englishman trying to make his fortune showing movies in China. It's a very interesting story that is presumably based on true events, although I'm assuming it's more fantasy than real. It's got a fairy tale quality you rarely get in real life, and it's also got 8 people credited for the script, so they must have been making up stuff right and left.
This is a very likable movie that conveys how magical film was to people who had never seen it before. It is not an especially deep movie, touching briefly on the loss of tradition and the encroachment of western culture but mainly just being a pleasant little movie. It's actually a movie I enjoyed very much that is already beginning to disappear from my mind 15 minutes after seeing it. Light as a soufflé, but I enjoyed every minute.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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