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Shanghai Trance (2008)

Three young couples with a difficult love life spend time in the restless, and most explosively growing city in China.


David Verbeek


David Verbeek (screenplay)




Credited cast:
Tygo Gernandt ... Jochum
Xiao Han Xiao Han ... Jenny
Zhang Heng Zhang Heng ... Zhang Yi


Three young couples with a difficult love life spend time in the restless, and most explosively growing city in China.

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Like watching paint dry! Extended student film-making at its worse!!
9 December 2008 | by qwertyman2008See all my reviews

This film looked really nice in places, the first 10 minutes was OK but then it became probably one of the most boring, uninteresting films I have ever watched! David Verbeek's scriptwriting is amateurish at best and self-indulgent student film like at best. It is the typical frustrated, non-talented art film director's fare.

Why do people always make these crap art house filmsabout 'real' people and then never have actual stories?

"How can I make my film really deep man?...." must have been Verbeek's thoughts before he wrote this dribble. The answer: Fill it with really unhappy people who look moodily at their own reflections or outside of windows. Thats soooooooooooo deeeeeeeeeeeeeep! Always moodily, always with a surly glint in their eyes. Extended (incompetent) student film I hear you say? You'd be absolutely right!

Characters have no real motivations because we are never explained what is going on in their heads. In the end we actually truly care about them because we don't understand them.

Also the obsessive (again another European film student trait...) use of 'subjective' wide shots meant we were constantly at a distance so again we didn't really care about the characters because not only did we not know what they were thinking, but we also couldn't get close enough to these characters faces to care about them anyway.

David Verbeek is obviously so obsessed with European art house cinema that he has made all the classic mistakes without truly knowing what he wanted to say. An audience needs to identify with a film's characters if it is to invest in a story. Sorry did I say 'story'? There was none!! e.g. A beginning, a middle and an end. Even the most obscure art house classics have something that we can latch onto to hold our interest, this didn't at all. Unhappy people, no reasons given for why they are like this, no story!

For someone who actually managed to get funding to a make a film, I am very surprised at how incompetent David Verbeek truly is. Bad direction, very bad scriptwriting. He actually managed to have really interesting locations, good actors and a great city to work in like Shanghai and yet made this rubbish, uninteresting film. What a waste!

This is the typical film that comes of Asian film schools these days. They should all be titled: "Ohhh how miserable life is, in the big Asian city!" But this is not the truth, in reality living in places like this can be quite exhilarating - it's not all bad. From watching this film you would get the impression that all young people in Shanghai are unhappy with their lot - which is completely untrue.

This is what happens when you a let a Europen make a film about a place he thinks he knows about but in reality obviously doesn't in the slightest.

David Verbeek should never ever again be allowed to inflict his brand of boring, bleak, uninteresting, amateurish, student film like,rubbish art house cinema on unsuspecting future audiences ever again!!!! Take this man's film-making privileges away please, before we slit our own wrists.

"Oh life in the big modern city so so terrible!!!!!!!!" Where do these incompetent talentless directors come from?

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2 October 2008 (Netherlands) See more »


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