IMDb > Shanghai Dreams (2005)

Shanghai Dreams (2005) More at IMDbPro »Qing hong (original title)

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Release Date:
3 June 2005 (China) See more »
In the 1980s, encouraged by the government, a large number of families leave Chinese cities to settle in the poorer regions of the country... See more » | Add synopsis »
5 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
A slow and insightful drama tracing the cycle of dreams and disappointments in Communist China See more (13 total) »



Yuanyuan Gao ... Wu Qinghong
Bin Li ... Xiao Gen Er

Hao Qin ... Lu Jun
Yang Tang ... Zhou Meifen
Xueyang Wang ... Xiao Zhen

Anlian Yao ... Wu Zemin

Directed by
Xiaoshuai Wang 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Xiaoshuai Wang 

Produced by
Isabelle Glachant .... executive producer
Huatong Li .... executive producer
Wei Li .... executive producer
Li Pi .... producer
Original Music by
Wu Zhang 
Cinematography by
Di Wu 
Film Editing by
Hongyu Yang 
Sound Department
Jingyan Zhang .... sound

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Qing hong" - China (original title)
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France:123 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful.
A slow and insightful drama tracing the cycle of dreams and disappointments in Communist China, 21 June 2008
Author: Robert_Woodward from United Kingdom

Shanghai Dreams is a slow, insightful drama set in the 1980s in Guiyangg, a town in China's Guizhou province. During the Chinese Cultural Revolution, efforts to create a 'third line of defence' against the Soviet Union led to an influx of migrants to inland settlements. Guiyang was one such destination, but the town has since grown dilapidated and its people despondent. The opening scene introduces the central character, Qinghong, engaged in a group session of callisthenics, a façade of harmony that belies her unhappy existence and the fractured, disillusioned society that she inhabits.

Qinghong's domineering father makes her life a misery. Li Bin, young factory worker seeks Qinghong's affections, but is thwarted at every turn by her father, who is mistrustful of this locally-born suitor. The tragic consequences that ensue from the suppression of this relationship are especially troubling in that they appear to vindicate the father's negative view of country folk – that they are not to be trusted. It is unfortunate that the film focuses almost exclusively on the lives of the city folk who have moved to Guiyang and gives short shrift to the country folk living there.

The quiet rebellion of Qinghong and her friend Xiao Zhen is handled more effectively. The duo escapes the clutches of their parents and head to a party with other rebellious teenagers. The party is a slightly surreal affair, combining Westernised clothing (flares and the like), Boney M songs and some memorable disco moves. The conflicts that divide the superficially harmonious town are again apparent when the party is violently interrupted by workers from a neighbouring factory.

As the film progresses it becomes increasingly clear why Qinghong's father is desperate to keep his daughter on a tight leash. His family moved to Guiyang some ten years previously, enthusiastically backing the government's plan to strengthen the interior of China. But the dream of a successful new life in these new surrounds has come to nothing: the town is moribund and there are few opportunities for young people. The Communist Party is present only as a faint babbling on TV and radio. Qinghong's father desperately wants to move back to Shanghai, and therefore also wants to keep his daughter from becoming attached to the country folk who live in Guiyang, including Li Bin. Qinghong's parents sacrificed their happiness to embrace an ultimately hollow dream and are now sacrificing their daughter's happiness to sustain their dream of escaping back to a better life.

The malaise in the town of Guiyang is reinforced by the visual style of director Wang Xiaoshuai. Until the very end of Shanghai Dreams we see little of the countryside; the drama unfolds largely within the confines of the town and the repetition of scenery and camera angles makes for a stifling, claustrophobic atmosphere. Throughout the film, Xiaoshuai deploys unusual camera angles to considerable effect, particularly when filming the distress of the long-delayed encounter between Qinghong and her would-be boyfriend.

The enigmatic ending to Shanghai Dreams will likely cause confusion; I for one cannot fully fathom the meaning of the final scene. However, although this is not an altogether satisfactory note on which to end the film, this is still one of the finest Chinese films that I have seen to date.

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