Shanghai Pathways Blog

Understand ​China​ ​From the Local ​Perspect​ive



I wish I knew

The name of this film comes from a really old Shanghai song, it is about the past of the city and many of its amazing stories. The more I gets to know it, the more unknown I felt. I think I will NEVER get tired of Shanghai.

I Wish I Knew, it was directed by famous Chinese director Jia Zhangke.  The focus of the film is on understanding Shanghai’s recent history through interviews with people closely related to the past and present stories of this city.  Jia selected 18 individuals to follow, from a pop star to the grandchild of China’s most influential general.  This film won the Keno Pen Award from the Montreal International Documentary Festival.


Up the Yangtze

Today, I went on a trip with a friend from Danmark, what amuses her the most are older generation in China who went through so much changes and difficulties in life, but still, they manage to find the inner peace and happiness.

Over 30% of the visitors to China will take the cruise down to see the the Three Gorges Dam across the Yangtze river in Hubei, China.  The experience will be very different than visiting a big modern city like Shanghai, this film is rich in detail about ways of life, dreams, and aspirations and is a great view into the reality of Chinese life.  

Up the Yangtze, it was directed by famous Chinese director Yun Chang.  The film follows the life of the Yu family as their lives are affected by the construction of the Three Gorges Dam, the largest mega-dam and a symbol of growth and progress in China.  Yu Shui, the daughter in the family, leaves home to earn a living on a tourist cruise liner while her family packs their belongings to escape the rising water line.  From the film’s website: “All the while the ship charts a course towards its controversial destination, traveling upriver through a landscape of unprecedented upheaval, as ancient and revered sites give way to the burgeoning candy-colored towers of China’s neon future.”

Young and Restless in China

Whenever I meet interesting young people in China, I always felt a simarlity, it is like looking into the mirrors and suddently see myself in it. 

Chinese people want practical happiness, the current social trend is “Get rich as fast as you can, and start a good life – big house, fancy car and a good job”.  The reason behind it is that people have been so poor for the past 100 years, so we are like poor hungry kids got inside the candy store, we want a lot, a lot and a lot. 

“Young and Restless in China.”  It’s about nine Generation X-ers (including a doctor to a hiphop artist to an environmental activist to two migrant workers) who set out to make it on their own.  It follows these nine X-ers over the course of five years to see how they grow and what they learn about life.

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