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Electric Shadows
Electric Shadows
Actors: Yu Xia, Haibin Li, Yijing Zhang, Zhongyang Qi, Zhengjia Wang
Director: Jiang Xiao
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Kids & Family
UR     2006     1hr 35min

Winner of the Audience Award at the Deauville Asian Film Festival, ELECTRIC SHADOWS is a charming tale reminiscent of Cinema Paradiso. Set in rural China during the Cultural Revolution, when outdoor cinemas enchanted China...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Yu Xia, Haibin Li, Yijing Zhang, Zhongyang Qi, Zhengjia Wang
Director: Jiang Xiao
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Kids & Family
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Kids & Family
Studio: First Run Features
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 07/25/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2005
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 35min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Chinese
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Moving, Bitter Sweet Tale of Childhood in China
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 08/12/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Jiang Xiao's feature debt film `Electric Shadows' requires a bit of suspension of disbelief - slightly patchy script needs polishing up, having more than one unbelievable coincidences - but her sincere attitudes toward the film's material are no doubt genuine, and I promise this emotional film ultimately delivers.

`Electric Shadows' employs a very familiar storytelling device, reading of someone's journal. The time is set in modern Beijing, where an avid moviegoer Mao Dabing encounters a mentally disturbed girl in a most bizarre way. That is, she hits him in the head with a brick, and while being questioned about her motives for doing that by the police, she entrusts Mao with the key to her room.

You have to believe this incredible introductory part because it is in her room (or diary) that the real story begins. In the following flashbacks, the film goes back to the year 1971 when a young beautiful woman dreaming of becoming a movie star in a rural Chinese town unexpectedly gets pregnant, and gives birth to a girl named Ling Ling.

The film really gets underway when it depicts the life of little girl Ling Ling, whose life is surrounded by the world of cinema. Ling Ling is often taken care of by the kind middle-aged projectionist (here is an echo from `Cinema Paradiso'), who manages the screening of films in the community's vacant lot. Ling Ling also establishes friendship with a boy newly arrived, and all these episodes are told beautifully against the backdrop of the history of modern-day China.

There are several references to the films popular among the Chinese people - Albanian film `Victory Over Death' plays an important role - and footages from Chinese films are inserted, but you don't have to know about these film, which strengthens the authentic feelings of the community in a Chinese town in the early 70s.

The story often gets melodramatic as it goes on, and sometimes it is too sentimental. The `frame' part of the film looks contrived, and some part of the story is too unbelievable (for example, how could the girl living in the big city of Beijing manage to live in such a nice room?)

But the strong story of Ling Ling will remain with you, with the sure hand of the director who knows something about growing-up and coping with the reality of life for a child. And the two child actors who played two Ling Lings are so good and adorable. `Electric Shadows' is a bitter sweet tale of childhood memories. Sometimes too bitter, but it is all the more worthwhile because of that."
Film Celebrates Chinese Cinema
Otaku Girl | Laramie, WY | 09/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This charming and unusual Chinese film celebrates the history of Chinese cinema. I found the story universally compelling--how two young children overcome unhappiness in their childhood years through their shared love of movies. Although the film depicts some of China's political struggles from the 1960s and 70s, many of the children's conflicts are universal. They must overcome bullying, jealousy, an abusive parent, and family tragedy.
This film will appeal to anyone who loves movies.
The cast is superb and the children really give especially amazing and affecting performances.
Hats off to the first-time director, Xiao Jiang. She handles her cast and material very well, drawing out sensitive performances. I could believe in these characters."
Heartwarming Film about Families and Children in China
Gerard D. Launay | Berkeley, California | 08/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Not since "Together" have I seen another emotionally compelling
film from China about the relationship between parents and
children. This one is a winner in my book. I would prefer not to talk about the plot but say that I found emotionally true the
struggles of a girl growing up without a father and using
a substitute - in this case a film fantasy about a father. The child's relationship with a troubled boy her own age, her younger brother who displaces her as the favoritge, her
mother who is herself conflicted about parenthood, and a usually kind stepfather pull on the heartstrings. I recommend this movie without reservations."
A movie that surprises you from a rather sleeper beginning
Jeffrey Huntington | 11/22/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This movie caused me to think I had purchased the wrong genre during the beginning. This film made me think it was not going to be the well constructed story that it became. I think this added to the impact as it unfolded to be a very endearing film about the life of two kids growing up around cinema. I had accidently purchased two copies of this film and was glad to have something this wonderful to give to someone.Another wonderful example of a Chinese movie with a real story that Hollywood has not been willing to provide. I had not heard of this film and bought it as a result of the reviews which turned out to be dead on correct."