I Wish I Knew (Hai shang chuan qi) (2010) - Rotten Tomatoes

I Wish I Knew (Hai shang chuan qi) (2010)

I Wish I Knew (Hai shang chuan qi) (2010)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

I Wish I Knew (Hai shang chuan qi) Photos

Movie Info

Filmmaker Jia Zhangke offers a personal look into the history of Shanghai, one of China's most exciting and diverse cities, in this documentary. While Shanghai is a city of no small historical importance in China, in Haishang Chuanqi (aka I Wish I Knew) the focus is less on the facts of the city's legacy than the stories of the people who have lived there and how their lives have been shaped by its history. Those interviewed by director Zhangke include people whose parents fell victim to the violence during the rise of communism, others who fled the country during the revolution, and those who were witnesses to the Sino-Japanese War and the Cultural Revolution. Zhangke also examines how Shanghai's history has been depicted in the Chinese cinema, illustrated by clips from a number of Chinese historical epics, as well as the stories behind some of China's great films of the past. I Wish I Knew was originally produced as part of the Shanghai World Expo; when the project went over schedule, it instead received its world premiere at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.
Art House & International , Documentary , Drama
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Critic Reviews for I Wish I Knew (Hai shang chuan qi)

All Critics (5) | Top Critics (2)

The poignant historical ironies of the Chinese director Jia Zhangke's documentary, commissioned by last year's Shanghai World Expo, begin with the title...

Full Review… | February 22, 2011
New Yorker
Top Critic

The pacing is steady. The stories are told simply, with zero affectation or buildup by the director. The effect is astonishing.

Full Review… | September 15, 2010
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

I Wish I knew is a rich, multi-faceted city film that challenges viewers to make sense of the various scraps that the filmmaker artfully arranges for our consideration.

Full Review… | February 15, 2011
House Next Door

The film works like a sort of fast-forward of the city's past over the last 75 years, and in addition to the wealth of cultural and historical detail, there are things in the film that seem to welcome contemporary political interpretation.

Full Review… | November 12, 2010
Jam! Movies

Audience Reviews for I Wish I Knew (Hai shang chuan qi)


Zhang-Ke Jia's new feature documentary. I'm not perfectly sure, but I heard it's made for the Shanghai World Expo 2010. There must be a lot of financial support from the Chinese government, and I was afraid that even Jia was finding himself adjustment to political situation of China today before I watched, but it turned out to be not as I worried. He's surely clever - with probably the most budget that he'd ever got, he used that money to train himself as a film director - using quotations from new and old Chinese films from all over Chinese areas (including Hong Kong and Taiwan), he does not only give them homage but also even play with them by mimic of some particular shots from works by Kar-Wai Wang, Hsiao-Hsien Hou, Ye Lou etc. It was also efficient and clever way to show how China has changed (or remained same) from when those films were made. He also completes the way he examined in his last film "24 City." However, because he does not focus only on Shanghai (jumping to Hong Kong or Taiwan suddenly), it distracts me strongly from what the film should have had to be main-focused. Some fictional parts (starring Zhao Tao and Giong Lim) do not work well either. I'm not yet sure how this film will find its own place in Jia's filmography later when he'll become one of world's masters - at least for now, I don't see the point for Jia to make this film...

Naoya Kugimiya
Naoya Kugimiya

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