When selecting films with "Shanghai" in the title, it's best to overlook Hollywood projects (Madonna's Shanghai Surprise, Jackie Chan's Shanghai Noon) and go straight to the source. Shanghai Dreams (or Qing Hong in Mandarin) portrays a family forced to relocate from China's coastal metropolis to the rural-industrial berg Guiyang. The Chinese communist government compelled thousands of families to move inland in order to form "a third line of defense" against the Soviet Union. Director Xiaoshuai Wang, whose own family made the same mandatory transition, captures the landscape's bleak beauty while making clear that it's a depressing, futureless destination.Like 1998's Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl, Shanghai Dreams focuses its countryside-exile story line on a teenage girl. But whereas Xiu Xiu suffered relentless degradation, Qing Hong experiences glimpses of warmth and hope. Shanghai Dreams screens for free today at 10 a.m. at Overland Park's Rio Theatre (7204 West 80th Street). For more information, call 913-897-8613.
Sat., March 22, 10 a.m., 2008