Shanghai Trance

David Verbeek

Young Dutch director made an (almost) entirely Chinese film. In a city where everything is new, an outsider is in any case no more out of place than the locals. Cinematographic portrait of modern life in the mega-city of Shanghai is made up of three separate stories about dreams and loves of twentysomethings.

What can a young Dutch film maker with a fascination for Asia and Asian cinema do better than just head for the Orient and come back with a Chinese film, in many respects, made with a largely Chinese cast and crew? The subject is Shanghai, one of the world's largest and most dynamic cities. Or, rather: the film is about the generation of twenty-somethings in a city that has changed faster than they could grow up. How do those people get on with each other, what do they expect of each other, how can they trust each other's ambitions?
Shanghai Trance is made up of three separate love stories edited together. Xu Yu, an intelligent boy from a simple background has to watch as the ‘Apple’ he desires becomes alienated from him as her suddenly rich family moves to a chic new district. Then we have hip night owls Jenny and her boyfriend, the popular nightclub DJ Calvin, who slowly realise that their way of life is temporarily and vulnerable. And finally the Dutch architect Jochem, who recently moved to Shanghai, and feels attracted to the elegant, ambitious Zhang Yi.
Among the many issues that are worth mentioning: Verbeek compiles a hip Chinese cast, a lust to look at a. And also a lust to listen to thanks to Zhang Yang, the soundman on Jia Zhangke's films and the music of the Taiwanese Lim Giong, well known from Hou Hsiao Hsien's Millennium Mambo. (GT)

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