Change and a city in China. In Chengdu, factory 420 is being pulled down to make way for multi-story buildings with luxury flats. Scenes of factory operations, of the workforce, and of ... See full summary »
Little pocket thief Wu never got away from the streets like his friends did. He realises that he is alone, as his old buddy doesn't invite him for his wedding. When he falls in love with a ... See full summary »
Set in Fenyang, Shanxi Province, the film focuses on a group of amateur theatre troupe performers whose fate mirrors that of the general population in China as massive socio-economic ... See full summary »
China's greatest living filmmaker Jia Zhangke (Platform, The World) travels with acclaimed painter Liu Xiaodong from China to Thailand as they as they meet everyday workers in the throes of... See full summary »
Director Jia Zhang-ke was commissioned to make a film commemorating last year's Shanghai World Fair. Population-wise, Shanghai is the biggest city in China. It sits at the mouth of the giant Yangstze River, and is therefore a major port. In 1842, the Treaty of Nanking opened Shanghai to foreign trade. And the city boomed. Shanghai suffered a decline in influence when the Communists came to power in 1949, but rose once again in 1990, when then Premier Deng Xiaoping introduced economic reforms in 1990. When my wife and I stayed with a friend living in Shanghai, it was impossible not to see that Shanghai was booming like never before. One sixth of the world's cranes it was said, crowded the city's skyline. Everywhere one looked, buildings were being razed to the ground to make way for newer, taller structures. In a city with nearly 17,000,000 people, the crowds were like nothing we'd ever experienced before. The traffic wasn't much better. However, the overall impression we took away with us was of a city that was thriving, achieving and vital Jia Zhang-ke's film "I Wish I Knew" has been described as a 'melancholic history of Shanghai", from the brutalities of the Japanese occupation, right up till the present day. Unfortunately, this film in no way gives a person watching this film the impression that Shanghai is one of the most powerful cities in the world. There was scarcely a mention of Japanese occupation Instead, we are subjected to no less than eighteen people sitting around and recounting their memories, more of their family lives than of Shanghai itself. For the most part, these people's memories were mundane and tedious. Then there was the young woman wandering around The Bund, or walking in the rain why? Who knows, as it's never explained? Granted, things don't have to be spelled out in black and white, but for the life of me, I couldn't see the point. This film is devoid of the sense of a city on the move. The cinema-photography seemed to me well, to be blunt about it, rather amateurish with far too much "framing" The subtitling was truly woeful, with most of the background being pale, the white subtitles were often mainly impossible to read. Footage of Shanghai as it once was to me virtually non-existent and the feel of the city as if it was to me, was also virtually non-existent, too. Overall, this film was an opportunity missed, a perfect illustration of a chance squandered.
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