Hai shang chuan qi (original title) / 2010 / documentary, history / 2h 5min / directed by Jia Zhangke / country: China / language: Mandarin / subtitles: English

I Wish I Knew, a 2010 documentary shot in Shanghai, closes with two starkly contrasting views: one from the observation deck of the Shanghai World Financial Center (the highest in the world at the time of filming), the other from a nondescript railcar in transit. These images, both concerned with development, are atmospheric and spatially suggestive, placing the static verticality of the skyscraper against the endless horizontal flux of human movement down below. But they’re also emblematic of Chinese director Jia Zhangke’s filmography, which has over the past two decades continually looked to the future, however hazy and indistinct it might be.”
Lawrence Garcia, AV Club

“Made between his sublime “24 City” (2008) and his angry, violent 2013 “A Touch of Sin,’ “I Wish I Knew” takes its title from the American songbook standard, here heard as sung by U.S. crooner Dick Haymes, while a group of contemporary Shanghai senior citizens are seen dancing to it. But that’s the only piece of Western music heard in the movie. Except for a stray reference here and there to individuals emigrating to the U.S., the movie stays in Shanghai. This is in a respect out of necessity: the movie was actually commissioned by the Shanghai Expo for screening there. It shows how far the filmmaker had come in terms of acceptance that he was hired for this; his early features, independently financed, were invariably banned or at least shadow-banned by the government for their frankness about the conditions of its contemporary characters.”
Glenn Kenny,

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