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Shadow Magic(西洋镜)

✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

China, Germany, Taiwan · 2000
Rated PG · 1h 56m
Director Ann Hu
Starring Jared Harris, Xia Yu, Yufei Xing, Liu Peiqi
Genre Drama, History

Beijing, 1902: an enterprising portrait photographer named Liu Jinglun befriends a newly-arrived Englishman who's brought projector, camera, and Lumière-brothers' shorts to open the Shadow Magic theater. Liu's work with Wallace brings him conflict with tradition and his father's authority, but Liu is determined to show audiences the power of cinema.

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What are critics saying?


Portland Oregonian by

The re-creation of early 20th-century Beijing is dense and loving, and Hu shows just as much affection for the people who start to trickle into the shabby little cinema.


Village Voice by Amy Taubin

Properly picturesque but lacks subtlety and substance in blending Chinese and Western history, ideas, and cinematic conventions.


Miami Herald by Curtis Morgan

Rising above simple sentiment to explore class differences and the enduring clash between East and West with wit and wisdom.


Boston Globe by Jay Carr

Shadow Magic isn't interested in psychology or character study. It's a series of tableaux and on that level succeeds admirably.


TV Guide Magazine by Ken Fox

Unfortunately, Hu and her army of co-writers saddle the story with a tired romantic subplot and fail to develop meaningful characters.

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