Monday, March 21, 2005

OT: Shanghai

Remember Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom? I sure do. Remember the opening scene in Shanghai. That really once existed. The Shanghai of the 30's and 40's is China's version of Al Capone's Chicago. Movies that take place in this period are a whole lot like The Untouchables, crime dramas, just it's in Chinese. Just think traditional Chinese Dress+Fedora and you pretty much got it.

Chinese people aren't big into Sci Fi, so most of the TV Series and Movies from Hong Kong/Mainland China are from the following time periods:

The Present (token white actor in Hong Kong plays "the foreign investor")
The Distant Past (comes with wire-fu)
The Qing Dynasty/Colonial Hong Kong (token white actor plays the "colonial adminsitrator")
And of course Shanghai (and to a much lesser degree, Hong Kong) of the 30's and 40's.

Once upon a time Shanghai was a vibrant cosmopolitan city that was classy and seedy at the same time. The Communists once tried to stamp out the Old Shanghai but since "Communist" China is really capitalist again, the Old Shanghai is making a resurgence.

Why am I writing about Shanghai? Two reasons.
  1. I want to vist Shanghai soon and...
  2. There is an awesome article on Shanghai in the SF Chronicle.
You can also find a good look at Old Shanghai in Empire of the Sun. That movie pretty good too, the Japanese did do some pretty horrible things in WWII.


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