Qing Hong (Shanghai Dreams) (2005) (China)

This is the place to talk about films from around the world.

Qing Hong (Shanghai Dreams) (2005) (China)

Postby hengcs » Thu Jul 07, 2005 5:53 pm

Director: Wang Xiaoshuai
Cast: Gao Yuanyuan, Li Bin, Wang Xueyang, Qing Hong, Yan Anlian, Tang Yang

At Cannes Film Festival 2005, it won the Prix du Jury !
see
www.festival-cannes.fr/fi...lm=4279993

The movie tells the story of a 19 year old girl who had a strict father who dreamed of returning to Shanghai because that was where he believed his children would benefit. He reluctantly went to Guizhou under his wifes persuasion, but he had always felt that he belonged to Shanghai but did his daughter think so? In the 1960s, a lot of families had moved from the large cities to help develop the poorer regions of the country as well as form a third line of defense.

What I like
-- Definitely the written dialogue for the parents. The way the parents reasoned and rationalized with their children really transported me back to those younger days of how typical Asian parents used to educate their kids (at least in the past, say in the 60s 70s) The parents firmly believed that it was the best for their children and they liked to say, I would rather you hate me now than to let you regret later in life How familiar?!
-- At the end of the movie, it was for the audience to decide whether the plight of the female protagonist was indeed her dads fault (for being too strict), her own fault (for being too conforming) or that of times
-- Although at first glance, many would dismiss the novelty of the theme (i.e., another movie about generation gap where parents and children did not meet eye to eye) I thought there slightly more to the movie
e.g., it probed at belonging (where you are born or where you live? is it your house/family or a haven outside)
e.g., it challenged issues of choice and helplessness (of the parents and also of the children) (do we always have a choice in life? Is conformity wise or defiance better?)
e.g., it wondered about dreams (the parents or the childrens?)
e.g., it reiterated the issues of stereotypes (the city dwellers and the rural people; good influence and bad influence; etc)
-- Technicalities of the movie there are lots of attention to details
e.g., cinematography and lightings the exteriors (also, the outside world) were always brighter than the interiors (also, the present situation)
e.g., sounds most are simply that of Guizhous monotonous/boring daily sounds until the last 3 gun bangs that shattered the silence to signify a new era and a new beginning
-- I also like the ensemble cast, in particular the parents and her lover (albeit few scenes)

What I thought could be better
-- The movie is pretty slow paced at times, one wonders if it could be faster
-- Mentioned above, it could be easily dismissed as one of the overdone generation gap Hollywood movies but there is something more (or am I crediting the director too much?!) although much has to be inferred or would be feel by those who have gone through similar situations
-- * MAJOR SPOILER *
At the end of the movie, it was unclear if the female protagonist still liked her lover. I would think so, or at least a mixed emotion Also, when she finally broke down and attempted suicide, it was unclear whether she broke down because she was raped, or because her parents chose to charge her lover with rape, or simply both. I believe different audience would interpret it differently (is this good or bad? Ha ha ha)
* END OF SPOILER *

Conclusion:
I recommend the movie only if
-- you like art film and want to reminisce about those old (or younger) days
-- you like to understand how many (not all) (Asian or strict) parents (at least in the past) used to educate or rationalize with their children

I think it is a divisive film whereby you will either like it or simply dismiss it as another overdone film about generation gap

Trivia:
The original title was I am 19. However, as the director did not want the audience to harp on the fact that the actor and actress may not be 19, he amended the title. The new title Qing Hong is simply the name of the female protagonist in the movie.
hengcs
 


Re: Qing Hong (Shanghai Dreams) (2005) (China)

Postby hengcs » Sat Jul 09, 2005 3:49 pm

To those who do not need English subtitles,
you may watch the movie on DVD ...
us.yesasia.com/en/PrdDept.aspx/pid-1004026028/code-c/section-videos/
hengcs
 

Re: Qing Hong (Shanghai Dreams) (2005) (China)

Postby hengcs » Wed Sep 28, 2005 12:44 am

Hi arsaib4,
It seems like you have finally gotten to watch this film.

Do you care to share your review?

Also, what do you think about the following?

* MAJOR SPOILER *
At the end of the movie, it was unclear if the female protagonist still liked her lover. I would think so, or at least a mixed emotion Also, when she finally broke down and attempted suicide, it was unclear whether she broke down because she was raped, or because her parents chose to charge her lover with rape, or simply both. I believe different audience would interpret it differently (is this good or bad? Ha ha ha)
* END OF SPOILER *
hengcs
 

Re: Qing Hong (Shanghai Dreams) (2005) (China)

Postby arsaib4 » Thu Sep 29, 2005 10:11 pm

[From TIFF '05]

SHANGHAI DREAMS



Unlike most "Sixth Generation" Chinese filmmakers, Wang Xiaoshuai is a consummate storyteller. His beautifully concocted and paced narratives often contain a classic, timeless quality which is hard to find in the works of his counterparts. Wangs latest, Shanghai Dreams (Qing hong), which is his most personal film to date, sees him continuing down the same path even though at times Wang's narrative introduces certain tragic operatic elements with mixed results.

Shanghai Dreams is set in the early 1980s but it has its roots deeply dissolved in the Chinese Cultural Revolution of the 60s, when Mao initiated major relocation of industries and workers to rural areas in order to form a "third line of defense," primarily for the possibility of war with the strengthening Soviet Union. Wangs parents, much like the ones of the films 19-year-old protagonist Qinghong (Gao Yuanyuan), suffered the same fate. As the film opens in the Guizhou province in southern China, reform is underway and that has led many of the migrants to wish for a return back to the cities. Qinghongs parents, especially her sullen father Wu Zemin (Yan Anlian), are hopeful for Shanghai but since the best years of their lives have now come and gone, they're more concerned about their two children, primarily the older Qinghong.

While Wang expertly establishes the tense relationship which exists between the father and daughter, his major accomplishment here is that he allows us to see things from both perspectives. Wu might follow Qinghong home everyday from school and generally constrict her burgeoning individuality, but were allowed to conceive his cause also. Wu has endured the kind of hardships that he doesn't want his children to suffer through, so his belief is that the approach is for their benefit, even though he fails to recognize the effect his behavior is having on Qinghong who doesnt quite know where she belongs. Theres a quietly devastating scene between Wu and a local boy who Qinghong cherishes, in which he placidly explains the situation to him. And, ultimately, it's his character, along with that of Qinghong's fiery best friend (Wang Xueyang), who end up seeming more actively conflicted and complex, thus leaving more of a residue, than our one-dimensional protagonist.

Shanghai Dreams is Wangs first "officially approved" film without any cuts. It's handsomely produced and directed -- the lush period detail is beautifully attended to by Wang's skillfully composed and choreographed shots. As one could imagine, the overall tone is quite somber for a narrative whose outline is tragic enough, but it seems like Wang didnt quite trust his material on occasion. There's a false note or two late in the film which could've easily been avoided. While the overall experience remains untarnished, it's disappointing especially considering the fact that Wangs previous effort, Drifters (2003), was so consistently poignant and compelling.

______________________

*SHANGHAI DREAMS premiered at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Jury Prize. (No U.S. distribution at this point.)

*Available on DVD in the U.K. (Artificial-Eye). (Special features: Theatrical trailer, Filmographies, Production notes.)
_____________________
[Edit]Pic/DVD info
arsaib4
 

Re: Qing Hong (Shanghai Dreams) (2005) (China)

Postby arsaib4 » Thu Sep 29, 2005 10:20 pm

* MAJOR SPOILER *
At the end of the movie, it was unclear if the female protagonist still liked her lover. I would think so, or at least a mixed emotion Also, when she finally broke down and attempted suicide, it was unclear whether she broke down because she was raped, or because her parents chose to charge her lover with rape, or simply both. I believe different audience would interpret it differently (is this good or bad? Ha ha ha)
* END OF SPOILER *

I think there were plenty of reasons. The obvious one is what happened that night, but then if she was in another situation, it wouldn't have occured. I simply think that the film could've done without such a thing.

Do you think it was important in any way?
arsaib4
 

Re: Qing Hong (Shanghai Dreams) (2005) (China)

Postby hengcs » Tue Oct 04, 2005 4:33 am


Quote arsaib4, "I simply think that the film could've done without such a thing. Do you think it was important in any way?"

* MAJOR SPOILERS *

Why is the rape scene important?
-- Without that scene, it would be difficult to comprehend/appreciate the way most Asian parents who adopt a tough stance on their children ... it would be a one sided view of the parents being too conservative and outdated ... with the incident, it became less clear whether the parents were at fault (i.e., for disallowing their relationship) or the children were at fault (i.e., for failing to believe their parents) ...
-- The scene also reiterated how people are often compelled by circumstances and/or changed by circumstances (e.g., for him and for her) which ties in with the overall theme ...
-- More importantly, I thought it was also symbolic of the "migrants" who were "raped" of their dreams (like the children's) ...
-- Finally, due to the rape scene and the sequence of events that followed, it allows the audience to ask, "Does he really love her? Does she really love him?"

Why did I want to figure out the "crying" scene?
-- Well, if she cried only because she was raped, but she was the one who called the police, then she might have ended her love over him ...
-- But, if she cried because her parents have insisted on charging the guy (and eventually caused his execution and death), then she probably still loved him ...

* END OF SPOILERS *
hengcs
 

Re: Qing Hong (Shanghai Dreams) (2005) (China)

Postby arsaib4 » Fri Oct 07, 2005 4:30 am

Why is the rape scene important?
...with the incident, it became less clear whether the parents were at fault (i.e., for disallowing their relationship) or the children were at fault (i.e., for failing to believe their parents) ...

I thought that the dual nature of the relationship was established prior to that. Qinghong's suffering was internalized early on, and I think Wang should've left it as such.

-- More importantly, I thought it was also symbolic of the "migrants" who were "raped" of their dreams (like the children's) ...

That's rather heavy-handed "symbolism" don't you think? Perhaps something that wouldn't look out of place in a TV Drama.

-- But, if she cried because her parents have insisted on charging the guy (and eventually caused his execution and death), then she probably still loved him ...

Are you sure that he was given the death penalty? I thought his name was one which received the life sentence.
arsaib4
 

Re: Qing Hong (Shanghai Dreams) (2005) (China)

Postby hengcs » Fri Oct 07, 2005 5:14 am

* MAJOR SPOILERS *

The guy was sentenced to death by gunshots ... and the last three bangs signalled that ...

* END OF MAJOR SPOILERS *

By the way, the film could also be interpreted at the individual or society level ... either way, it was about the quest for a better life ... either way, it was also about the failure to seek a better life ... how sad ...
hengcs
 

Re: Qing Hong (Shanghai Dreams) (2005) (China)

Postby trevor826 » Mon Aug 20, 2007 12:55 pm

Just finished watching Shanghai Dreams and can only agree with the previous comments, beautifully shot and perfectly paced, a real gem of familial and social conflict with a scene that seems totally out of place and was unnecessary.

Mature writing and direction especially as regards the father/daughter conflict and obviously filled with personal recollections of youth, you just have to love the "underground dance" sequence in particular.

Regarding the rape, the scene was absolutely out of place, I felt as though the director was looking for some dramatic impetus to push the family to take the final leap and head back to Shanghai, but in all honesty, it just didn't need it.

I'd still give it a hearty recommendation despite my one misgiving, quality filmmaking that far outshines the recent output of certain "Fifth generation" Chinese directors.

Cheers Trev.

BBFC rated 15.

R2 dvd released by Artificial Eye, very good sound and picture quality.

Limited extras, a short "making of", trailer and director's filmography.

Now the "making of" though short, is very interesting, it also raised a query. The subs were quite different to those of the dvd and to be honest, they seemed more natural, I would guess they were from a region 3 release. I'm just wondering if there's any major difference brought about by the differing interpretations in the subs, if so I'd probably invest in the R3 dvd as well.
trevor826
 

Re: Qing Hong (Shanghai Dreams) (2005) (China)

Postby trevor826 » Tue Aug 21, 2007 8:21 am

Re: the rape and attempted suicide, since it's been brought up over previous posts.

There is an alternative chain of thought hengcs, a lot of women who have been raped or sexually assaulted believe that they have in some way brought it upon themselves (no matter how ridiculous that sounds). This in turn brings a strong sense of guilt, this plus the fact that she cared for her attacker, added to his arrest and imprisonment would be more than enough along with her continuing suffering under her father's heavy handed parenting to tip someone over the edge.

I still think the whole episode was completely unwarrented though.

Cheers Trev.
trevor826
 

Next

Return to Film Talk

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests

cron