Shanghai Baby (2007) Poster

(2007)

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3/10
A fake picture of sino-foreign relationships in Shanghai.
steen-2129 January 2009
The standard comment on filmatization of novels is that it is nowhere as good as the novel. This is true for this filmatization as well. It is very true to the storyline of the novel, which itself is not a very complex work. However it is interesting as a Chinese point of view on the relationship locals have with expats in town. I, myself, is such an expat in Shanghai through 10 years, so it is exciting to explore the point of view, where we foreign invaders become subjects under scrutiny.

However, it is deeply unsatisfying for any purpose other than illustration the narrative of the novel. We do not gain any useful insights in the psychology involved in the Chinese point of view except from some poeticising of Coco's feelings. Furthermore the Chinese actors converse in English mostly, and when they converse in Chinese it is with a thick Beijing dialect. I ponder whether the rule is that the actors recruited who master the English language use English when together, and when actors recruited locally are involved it changes to Mandarin. This is sloppy. Reminds me of the pre WWII war movies involving multiple nationalities all from Hollywood neighborhoods.

In conclusion this work is a fake. It compels me to compare with a similar Shanghai based movie like Suzhou Creek. If you want a truer picture of Shanghai, that is where to go.
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