chapter  9
17 Pages

Representation and nostalgic re-invention of Shanghai in Chinese film

Today, Shanghai presents itself as a modern cosmopolitan city. However, in 1949 the newly established communist government considered Shanghai a non-productive and parasitic city with a criminal reputation.1 Now, Shanghai is characterized as a modern city, deeply influenced by Western civilization. It is regarded as flexible and inhabiting a complex society. In contrast to Hong Kong it does not focus only on trade. Although not as historical a city as Beijing, the culture of Shanghai is seen as diverse, according to the author of the two volumes of the history of Shanghai. It is a city of opposites: old-new, elegant-common, east-west. Repeatedly, Shanghai is stressed as an immigrants’ city that was exposed very early on to Western influences.2