China’s first movie studios were in Shanghai, in the 1930s, and you can see old classics such as Sister Flower and The Goddess – both surprisingly hard-hitting naturalistic tragedies – at the Old Film Café. The old studios that produced these movies might have gone-but, increasingly, you can find Shanghai depicted on film, most successfully in Lou Ye’s tragic love story Suzhou Creek (2002). The best of many concession-era “lipstick and qipao” films is Shanghai Triad (1995). The brutal end to those days is shown in Steven Spielberg’s decent adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s classic novel, Empire of the Sun (1987). Shanghai is successfully made to look like a city of the future in the neat and twisty sci-fi thriller, Looper (2012).

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