Director: Xiao Jiang (2005)
Once upon a time before television, film was the main source of popular entertainment for the Chinese people. This was a golden era, when it seemed that everyone spent their leisure time taking in the latest flicks at outdoor theaters across the country.
Xiao Jiang's big-screen debut, Electric Shadows tells an intricate story of this era. Filled with friendship, family affection, love and passion for movies, the film is her nostalgic tribute to the days before Super Girl and non-stop TV ads.
Set in a small town in western China, the story revolves around a family over a period of 20 years. The daughter Ling Ling (Guan Xiaotong) grows up with a deep love for movies and develops a close friendship with a fellow movie buff, a mischievous neighborhood boy named Da Bing (Wang Zhengjia). The two spend their childhood years secretly taking in open-air movies from a neighboring rooftop, but changes bring their celluloid bliss to a halt: Da Bing leaves town and Ling Ling's mother gives birth to a baby boy. Unfortunately, these events turn out to be a mixed blessing and what ensues is a series of tragic misfortunes that compels Ling Ling to run away from home.
Electric Shadows would make anyone who grew up during the open-air theater era awash with nostalgia.
(That's Beijing December 19, 2005)