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Site Specific: Shanghai 04 (2005)

From a helicopter, Barbieri's camera looks at Shanghai and tells a silent story.

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From a helicopter flying above Shanghai, Barbieri tells a silent story. Approaching the city from over the water, we see bright lights and color. Color gives way to gray. On the soundtrack, the noise of the helicopter alternates with marshal music, "The Orient Is Red." Edits are abrupt. Modern buildings contrast with a rail yard. A river bisects the city, crossed by a bridge of contemporary lines. Is there any sort of soul here? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Documentary | Short

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2005 (USA)  »

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Brilliant. Beautiful. Unique and Important
27 December 2008 | by See all my reviews

Just finished watching this 13 minute film. I saw a couple of minutes of the others like Las Vegas and another one that had a beach in it. But The Shanghai was the only one I saw all the way through. I thought it was genius.

I think what the creator did was absolutely genius on so many levels. Most obviously are the incredible shots of the city which very few of us would ever get to experience in our lives. The shots, editing, sound-scape, are all of great beauty and artistry. the shots speak for themselves, anyone can enjoy them and will no doubt find them beautiful.

The most powerful thought I had while watching this film was how the director managed to make a film about whatever the viewer wants to see: either absolutely nothing or everything there is in the world. You might only see the city shots or you might find yourself thinking about the people who live there, government, art, history, effects of man on nature, etc etc. You can see the beauty of human hands molding the earth to their will and conquering the elements. And all this is so far away that it is like we are aliens passing by earth.

The Shanghai film doesn't have any out of focus shots like the other films, i liked that about it. Also it used a Chinese song called "The Orient is Red" very ingeniously, adding a lot to this film.

I just have to say that i think this is a win for the director, he has showed us a new way to look at the world and a new potential (or a lost one) of cinema. Bravo. Like Tarkovsky said "Waht is true is always hard to understand".


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