I Wish I Knew (Hai shang chuan qi) (2020) - Rotten Tomatoes

I Wish I Knew (Hai shang chuan qi)2020

I Wish I Knew (Hai shang chuan qi) (2020)

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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.

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

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (6)

The resulting mix of image and interview, weariness and wonder, makes for a sober assessment of just how much change China's largest city has been through since the 1930s...

February 13, 2020 | Full Review…

I Wish I Knew functions as an admirable cinematic tone poem about a place and its times.

January 24, 2020 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Jia is building not just a portrait of a city, but of a fragmented people - one story and memory at a time.

January 23, 2020 | Full Review…

[A]n expansive exploration of Shanghai as a cultural center shaken by converging historical forces.

January 22, 2020 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

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

February 22, 2011

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

September 15, 2010 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

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