Screened as part of NZIFF 2005
Official recognition of Wang Xiaoshuai, winner of the Jury Prize at Cannes this year, exemplifies the changes in cultural identity projected by China since his debut film The Days was banned in 1993. It’s not Wang who has changed in the meantime. He continues to scrutinize the personal pain exacted by political orthodoxy in Shanghai Dreams, his semi-autobiographical drama about the legacy of the forced relocations of population from the cities to the country that took place in the 60s. Set in the early 80s the story unfolds around two teenage girls who have grown up in a tough country town, but who are discouraged by their father, who plots to return to his native Shanghai, from putting down roots.
“Foregoing the austerity of his earlier [low-budget] films for a more conventional yet very effective approach, Wang may have crafted his first masterpiece.” — Jason Anderson, Eye Weekly.
“Wang's movie upends the usual clichés about the younger generation yearning for the bright lights of the big city and the film has a granite severity and sombre force.” — Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian