I Wish I Knew

Movies, Documentary
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I Wish I Knew
Functioning as a similarly elegiac companion piece to '24 City', his 2008 examination of the dispersal of labourers from a factory in the Western Chinese province of Chengdu, director Jia Zhang-ke again looks at the ways in which time and ‘progress’ chip away at the cultural and economic landscape, this time adopting the power hub of Shanghai as his subject. Piecing together a grand historical sweep from the tales told by a variety of sources (people of different ages, sexes and social backgrounds, and even excerpts from films by Lou Ye, Hou Hsiao-Hsien and Wang T'ung), it would help to do a little reading up on 20th century Shanghai history before you take this meditative journey. But to take pleasure from the way Jia uses his camera to rip raw emotion from the towering edifices of the city requires no background reading at all.

By: David Jenkins

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Director: Jia Zhangke
Screenwriter: Jia Zhangke
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