Electric Shadows


Electric Shadows

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Total Count: 11


Audience Score

User Ratings: 15,897
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Electric Shadows Photos

Movie Info

The beauty and tragedies of China's history are reflected in the lives of a handful of film fans in this historical drama. Mao Dabing (Xia Yu) is a delivery man working in a small village in rural China during the latter days of the Cultural Revolution. Mao is a movie fan who lives for the periodic outdoor screenings held in the town square, but he meets a bigger buff one day when, after he has an accident on his bicycle, he's assaulted by Ling-Ling (Qi Zhongyang), a cute but overly excitable young woman. After she's arrested, Ling-Ling gives the keys to her apartment to Mao and asks him to look after her fish while she's in jail; though puzzled, he agrees, and discovers her flat is a veritable museum of movie memorabilia. Ling-Ling's favorite star is Zhou Xuan, a singer and actress who was a major screen idol in the 1930s and inspired Ling-Ling to take a stab at acting, and when Mao's curiosity gets the better of him he starts reading Ling-Ling's diary, discovering she grew up believing her father was a major male star of the era. However, the truth is far less glamorous -- Ling-Ling's mother, Jiang Xuehua (Jiang Yihong), was an attractive and talented woman who bore a striking resemblance to Zhou Xuan and had a budding career in radio until she became pregnant and her lover left her rather than marry her. Declared a counter-revolutionary, Jiang's career in radio comes to an end, and she moves to a small rural town where she strikes up a relationship with Pan (Li Haibin), who runs the projector at the local movie house. Jiang and Pan are happy together and eventually marry, but when they have a son, Ling-Ling finds she's no longer the center of attention in the household, and her life begins taking an unexpected turn. Electric Shadows (aka Meng Ying Tong Nian) was the first feature film from director Xiao Jiang.

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Critic Reviews for Electric Shadows

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (8) | Rotten (3)

  • Strip away the silly ideology of the old films, and Electric Shadows could be any movie buff's tale. It's the memory movie of our own mind, in English, Mandarin or whatever language the local Bijou screened them in.

    Jun 23, 2006 | Rating: 4/5
  • Debuting writer-director Xiao Jiang shows she has the makings of a quality mainstream filmmaker.

    Dec 16, 2005 | Full Review…

    Derek Elley

    Top Critic
  • Dreamy lighting, soft colors and lilting music mix with an agreeable cast.

    Dec 16, 2005 | Rating: 3/4
  • This fanciful Chinese tearjerker wants to be an Asian Cinema Paradiso but doesnt quite live up to its prototype.

    Dec 15, 2005 | Rating: 2.5/5
  • For every privileged moment (mother and daughter dancing in a yard of screen-like sheets hanging in the breeze), there's a death or sociopathic act that says movies can ruin your life.

    Dec 13, 2005
  • Director Xiao Jiang has a easy way with the proceedings in the beginning of the movie, but the film loses its way in the latter half when Ling Ling's mother marries Pan (Li Haibin), the guy who runs the local cinema.

    Aug 23, 2017 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Electric Shadows

  • Jan 07, 2010
    touching slow paced drama that takes time to unfold. Beautifully photographed, and a special film with an interesting story. My only complaint is that the entire film leads up to the end moment, when the 2 leads are reunited. However, that climax is so soft, almost to a whisper. I believe more could have been developed out of that moment, so in that sense a lost opportunity. An excellent work for a first time director.
    alan j Super Reviewer
  • Jan 15, 2009
    Sort of a Chinese <i>Cinema Paradiso</i>. Sentimental and compelling.
    Randy T Super Reviewer
  • Oct 13, 2008
    The main character's name isn't Mao Dabing. It's still Mao Xiaobing. "Xiao" means "little" and "da" means "big," so he's joking that he has grown up. Very sweet movie but the more I watch it, the more leery I am of the melodramatic coincidences the story depends on.
    Alice S Super Reviewer

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