Week 2-3 Elizabeth Wright, Shadow Magic – Imperial Peking’s Cinematic Initiation

Week 2-3 Elizabeth Wright, Shadow Magic – Imperial Peking’s Cinematic Initiation

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http://archive.sensesofcinema.com/contents/01/17/shadow_magic.html contents great directors cteq annotations top tens about us links archive search Shadow Magic - Imperial Peking's Cinematic Initiation by Elizabeth Wright Elizabeth Wright is completing her honours year in film studies at Monash University (Melbourne). Her thesis focuses on the film aesthetic of Wong Kar-wai. Ann Hu's Shadow Magic (2000) is an evocative homage to the introduction of the moving image in China. The film opens in Imperial Peking in 1902 with the elaborate arrival of China's eminent opera star Lord Tan (Li Yusheng) to the Feng Tai Photo Shop, where he is to be photographed by the shop's chief photographer Liu (Xia Yu). However, Liu is more concerned with the innovation 革革 , 革革 , 革革 of the phonograph he has recently discovered than the commotion surrounding Lord Tan's arrival. The young photographer's fascination 革革 , 革革 with Western inventions precipitates 革革革革革 ; 革革 ; 革革 his alliance 革革 ; 革革 , 革革 with the threadbare 革革革革 , 革革革 Englishman Raymond Wallace (Jared Harris) who has come to China to introduce the first moving image in the hope of making a great profit. Liu's avid desire to share in the magic of Raymond's silent cinema is belied however by the Chinese community who detest Westerners and their technological 'tricks'. The animosity felt towards foreigners is evidently a result of the Boxer Rebellion in which the Boxers, a secret Chinese society (that came to be supported by the imperial government), clashed with eight of the world's major powers over the Boxers' desire to evict all foreigners from China. Notably, the Boxers' vocal hatred for Westerners was concentrated in a few key areas, most particularly Peking. Nevertheless, the allied powers' response to the rebellion was decisive and in 1901, foreign diplomats ordered troops to enter and occupy Peking, leading to the Boxer Protocol of 1901 in which various restrictions and decrees were placed on China. Consequently, the character of Liu is caught between his country's instinctive aversion to foreigners and his
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own aspiration to overcome cultural barriers in his embrace of Raymond's silent cinema. He risks his friendship and loyalty to his employer Master Ren (Liu Peiqi), his love for Lord Tan's daughter Ling (Xing Yufei) and his filial duty to his father Old Liu (Wang Jingming) in order to learn the Westerner's novel device. Shadow Magic
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Week 2-3 Elizabeth Wright, Shadow Magic – Imperial Peking’s Cinematic Initiation

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