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243 Ratings

I Wish I Knew

Hai shang chuan qi

Directed by Jia Zhangke
China, 2010
Documentary, History


Focuses on the people, their stories and architecture spanning from the mid-1800s, when Shanghai was opened as a trading port, to the present day.

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I Wish I Knew Directed by Jia Zhangke
The camera is rarely stationary, but when it is, an overpowering sense of loss and sadness settles in. The soundtrack, designed by Giom Lam, who also worked on Hou’s Goodbye South, Goodbye, commingles the ambient sounds of the Bund (like the song “The East is Red,” which rings from the clock tower every hour) with elegiac soundtrack music—and seems to emanate from the misty air, adding a phantom aura to the atmosphere.
October 17, 2014
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Less thematically simple than the director’s previous work and less concerned with multi-hued visual pleasure (Yu Likwai’s digital cinematography, comprised primarily of grays, whites, and browns, is the exact opposite of his colorful work in The World, though it’s certainly not without its own stark splendor), Jia’s latest is arguably both his most abstract and his most straightforward work as well as the one with the longest historical reach.
February 15, 2011
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The poignant historical ironies of the Chinese director Jia Zhangke’s documentary, commissioned by last year’s Shanghai World Expo, begin with the title… Wondrous yet rueful views of the city, with its blend of grandeur and squalor, are anchored by the wanderings of an actress, Zhao Tao, whose mysterious role is clarified by one of the most anguished of testimonies…
February 01, 2011
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