Welcome to the “new” New Chinese Cinema – a kind of digital cinema that is dramatically shifting away from both the poetic rigor of the Fifth Generation and the loose fluidity of the Sixth Generation. Welcome instead to something more raw in form that revels in the post-digital, low-budget revolution. In the director’s own words, Welcome To Destination Shanghai is about “a male prostitute, a female prostitute, a mother, a father, a son, a puppy, a guard, a procuress, a doctor, a presenter, a small town and a big city. They mirror and smash together into a destination called Shanghai.” No matter; conventional plot is less of a concern here than the film’s central message, relayed through a series of interconnected tableaux in which contemporary China’s urban jungle embodies a melancholy and alienation not unlike that of the Western world. This is unlike anything we’ve witnessed before in Chinese cinema. Welcome, then, to a vibrant new chapter in East Asian film history to be discovered and embraced.
Awards and selected screenings: FIPRESCI Award, International Film Festival Rotterdam 2003; 2003 Vancouver International Film Festival
Director Wu Er Shan | China | 2000 | 4:00 | Color | International Premiere
An exquisite silent piece composed of similarly fashioned vignettes, each depicting sensuous bodies pressed against a glass pane, writhing amidst an arrangement of fruit, vegetables and flowers. The rhythm of the fade-ins and fade-outs of the frames enhances the eroticism.
Andrew Cheng was born in Shanghai in 1967. He studied literature in Beijing and film at the University of Sydney after which he began working as a director for television and MTV in Shanghai and Australia. “Welcome To Destination Shanghai” is his second feature after “Shanghai Panic” (2002).