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 lovely little film about the introduction of motion pictures to China. Captures the amazement of film's first audiences pretty much as it's described to have been worldwide, and uses actual Lumiere films for most of the actualities. I don't agree with other people about bad acting on the British fellow's part - I thought he was fine, but the Chinese lead really stole the show. In any case, I found myself with a smile on my face through most of the movie. People who fear subtitles might note that a lot of the film is in English (which for some reason is given subtitles as well as the Chinese on the DVD).
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