Synopsis by Mark Deming
Filmmaker Jia Zhangke offers a personal look into the history of Shanghai, one of China's most exciting and diverse cities, in this documentary. While Shanghai is a city of no small historical importance in China, in Haishang Chuanqi (aka I Wish I Knew) the focus is less on the facts of the city's legacy than the stories of the people who have lived there and how their lives have been shaped by its history. Those interviewed by director Zhangke include people whose parents fell victim to the violence during the rise of communism, others who fled the country during the revolution, and those who were witnesses to the Sino-Japanese War and the Cultural Revolution. Zhangke also examines how Shanghai's history has been depicted in the Chinese cinema, illustrated by clips from a number of Chinese historical epics, as well as the stories behind some of China's great films of the past. I Wish I Knew was originally produced as part of the Shanghai World Expo; when the project went over schedule, it instead received its world premiere at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival}.
architecture, China, city, Communism, history