Shadow Magic
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Chinese-born, American-based director Ann Hu debuts with this epic historical drama about the introduction of motion pictures to China during the beginning of the 20th century. The film is based on a true story of Liu Jung (Xia Yu), a Peking photographer who struggles to start a film industry in China in spite of the strong anti-Western sentiment of the time. At the film's outset, Liu Jung is scolded by his autocratic boss Master Ren (Liu Peiqi) for his obsession with Western gizmos after he brings home a junked Victrola. During a photo session with China's most famous opera star, Lord… More
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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 71%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Why not trust the subject matter instead of shaping it all to fit a formula?"
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Shadow Magic isn't interested in psychology or character study. It's a series of tableaux and on that level succeeds admirably."
‑ , Boston Globe
"In her debut film, director and producer Ann Hu creates a beautiful world with strong characters, both main and supporting."
‑ Ryan Cracknell, Apollo Guide
"Hu's affection is contagious, and there are wonderful moments."
‑ Jim Lane, Sacramento News & Review
"A sweet evocation of a world on the verge of change."
‑ Marjorie Baumgarten, Austin Chronicle
"Makes us appreciate what today's audiences take for granted: the miracle of the cinema."
‑ Charles Ealy, Dallas Morning News
"There is a humane touch here missing from so many modern movies."
‑ Curtis Morgan, Miami Herald
"Despite the fact that it's occasionally corny, Shadow Magic is also so low-key and so charming that you might not care."
‑ Jeff Vice, Deseret News, Salt Lake City
"resonates with modern values but maintains its old world charm"
‑ Jeanne Aufmuth, Palo Alto Weekly
"Xia gives Jinglun an earnest likability."
‑ Barry Johnson, Oregonian
"Gives us a glimpse of what it must have been like to be mesmerized and seduced by images that still convey magic and mystery."
‑ Loren King, Chicago Tribune
"It's a film about film, and Hu's love of the medium's storytelling power shines through every frame."
‑ Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post
"Some of the hostile reactions to Wallace and his movie machine may seem heavy-handed, but the film reminds us that China had been exploited by Western culture, making the opposition a bit more palatable."
‑ Joe Baltake, Sacramento Bee
"What an unremarkable movie this is."
‑ Chris Hewitt (St. Paul), St. Paul Pioneer Press
"Charming if sometimes clumsy."
‑ Cynthia Fuchs, Philadelphia City Paper
More reviews for Shadow Magic on Rotten Tomatoes