The film begins in the fall of 1948 and ends in the winter of 1950 in Shanghai. What happened in Shanghai when the Kuomintang and the Communist Party of China were at war, in other words, during the Chinese Civil War? Peng returns to this most confusing time in Shanghai and pulls out the history of those days. The protagonists are mainly Huirong, Zhaobai, and Jikan, who have studied business management in the USA and have returned to their hometown, Shanghai. Huirong and Zhaobai are engaged, and although three of them are close friends, problems arise when they find out that their opinions clash on the matter of what the objective for building a new China should be and what direction it should take. Huirong is an anti-American communist who protects his father’s factory in order to clothe the Chinese people in Chinese clothes, while Jikan is an economist working at the Ministry of Finance of the Kuomintang, and Huirong’s husband Zhaobai is a freelance photographer for foreign media. The film dramatizes just how past friends are divided into the anti-American communist woman and the Kuomintang man, and an observing man who watches all the confusion, in the midst of all the chaos of the times, the ban on gold trading, inflation, and the anti-Kuomintang students’ movement, and how they fall into the pit of history where they kill each other and are killed. The nightline of Shanghai today which continues to shine beyond Zhaobai, the only survivor, seems even more superficial. By continuously making use of night scenes and hazy smoke, this is an epic that illustrates the reality of Shanghai, which has fallen into a deep pit, and the future of China at the time, hidden behind thick smoke.
Directed by Xiaolian Peng | Starring : Ya’nan Wang, Quan Yuan, Shaoan Dai, Li Wei, Guochun Wei | Presented at N/A