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critics consensus

Charmingly sweet, Shadow Magic captures the sense of wonder of audiences experiencing the world of motion pictures for the first time. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Peking, 1902. The Feng Tai Photo Shop is in a frenzy of preparation for the arrival of Peking's most important opera star, Lord Tan. Liu Jinglun (Yu Xia), the chief photographer, is oblivious to the chaos as he tinkers with a broken Victrola he has found in a junk pile on his way to work. His boss, Master Ren (Peiqi Liu), chides Liu for his incessant fascination with Western novelties, which he feels have no place in traditional Chinese society.

Cast & Crew

Jared Harris
Raymond Wallace
Yu Xia
Liu Jinglun (Liu Zhonglun)
Peiqi Liu
Master Ren (Ren JingFeng)
Liping Lu
Madame Ren
Yusheng Li
Lord Tan (Tan Xinpei)
Qingzhuo Fang
Widow Jiang
Bin Li
Empress Ci Xi
Ann Hu
Director
Ann Hu
Writer
Dan Huang
Writer
Bob McAndrew
Writer
Louyi Tang
Writer
Lida Zhang
Original Music
Nancy Schreiber
Cinematographer
John Gilroy
Film Editor
Keith Reamer
Film Editor
Jinting Zhang
Casting
Jixian Wang
Production Designer
Bao-Rong Huang
Costume Designer
Guan Rui Xu
Makeup Designer
Ann Hu
Producer
Charles Xue
Executive Producer
Steve Chang
Executive Producer
Chiu Shun-Ching
Executive Producer
Sanping Han
Executive Producer
Ulrich Felsberg
Executive Producer
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Critic Reviews for Shadow Magic

All Critics (49) | Top Critics (19) | Fresh (35) | Rotten (14)

Audience Reviews for Shadow Magic

  • Jun 14, 2012
    The story of the introduction of film to a turn of the century China weary of and hostile to Western encroachment is framed by a tale of a young man struggling with his wonder with new technology versus a class system that insists he "know his place". Although thin in places the subject matter still charms.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Nov 13, 2007
    [font=Century Gothic]In "Shadow Magic," it is Peking in 1902 where Liu(Xia Yu), the chief photographer for a prestigious photo studio, is seeking innovative ways to help, including playing a recording of western classical music during a photo shoot. His boss(Liu Peiqi) thinks he needs to settle down and arranges a marriage between Liu and the Widow Jiang(Fang Qingxhuo). Fearing a fate worse than death, Liu starts assisting Raymond Wallace(Jared Harris), an Englishman with a new invention called a movie projector.[/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic]Inspired by a true story, "Shadow Magic" is an interesting and overlong bit of history that is let down by a thin plot. The power of the images speak for themselves as they capture unfamiliar lands and peoples who are thousands of miles away. What the movie is concerned with is the opening of China to new ideas from the West but a hundred years later, there is too much of this, especially Hollywood films that flood the market. At the same time, there are much less Chinese films or other forms of culture flowing back the other way. [/font]
    Walter M Super Reviewer

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