The Shanghai Spell (2002)

  |  Drama, Mystery


The Shanghai Spell (2002) Poster

A fourteen year old lad discovers his first love at the point of his pencil whilst drawing the portrait of a sickly but coquettish fifteen year old girl. In the neighbourhood an old ... See full summary »

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


11 March 2013 | ma-cortes
7
| Acceptable drama , lavishly produced and impressive set design recreating city of Shanghai
This is an enjoyable flick based on Juan Marse's novel , being set during and post Spanish Civil War . A very pleasant drama plenty of emotion , sensitive scenes , political intrigue about espionage , treason and mayhem . 1948 , Barcelona , Berrio De Gracia , a fourteen year old lad (Fernando Tielve) finds his first love at the point of his pencil whilst drawing the portrait of a sickly but coquettish fifteen-year-old-girl called Susana (Aida Folch) . There in the neighbourhood of Barcelona , an old freedom-fighter pits himself against his own records , a beautiful cinema-ticket woman (Ariadna Gil) takes to the streets at night and an old man named Captain Blay (Fernando Fernan Gomez) dedicates himself to tell strange tales . Far away, a hero of the Republic called Kim (Antonio Resines) is assigned by Levy (Feodor Atkine) to carry out a dangerous mission to kill a traitor (Gotz Otto) . As Kim must go to Shanghai , there he meets a gorgeous femme fatal (Ariadna Gil) with oriental eyes. Soon some problems start to arise when appears Forcat (Eduard Fernandez) who brings news about Kim .

This is an Award Winning picture by Fernando Trueba , the director of ¨Belle Epoque¨ , including a Spanish all-star-cast . Although it was originally a Victor Erice project, but differences between him and producer Andrés Vicente Gómez ended up with his refusal to make the movie . Drama in which reality and fiction become fused in an embrace . It deals with a historical background , including a coming-of-age tale , intrigue and thrills ; adding culture and politics . ¨Embrujo De Shanghai¨ results to be other of the innumerable stories to deal with deeds regarding Spanish Civil War , a familiar theme about the global horrors of a fratricide war , impossible to forget to our cinema . An agreeable story plenty of intense drama , amusing moments , moving feelings and tragic finale . It is a thought-provoking , wistful drama, easy to watch , and easier to love . It is as beautifully filmed as it is written and acted . This is one of those rare gems that does not stray from its purpose - to be a celebration of love and romance - and intelligent tale of two teens during a hectic time , being splendidly recreated . This is an interesting story that blends tragic elements , adventure , continuous flashbacks recreating an evocative Shanghai with breathtaking production design and many other things .

Director Fernando Trueba , also writes the interesting script based on the novel by Juan Marse , a notorious writer whose books have been continuously adapted such as Si Te Dicen Que Cai , Amante Bilingue , Largo Invierno , Lolita's Club , among others . Filmed in his usual formal and luxurious style , without leaving a trace the brooding themes , in terms of entertainment and narrative excitement . Unforgettable Fernando Fernan Gomez as old anarchist who lives locked-up and tells fantastic stories . Top-notch Ariadna Gil , she parades sexily at her best and more relaxed and enticing than ever . The hit of the show is undoubtedly for the fetching Ariadna who gives one of the best screen acting . Very good secondary cast formed by Spanish familiar faces such as Rosa Maria Sarda , Jorge Sanz , Eduardo Fernandez , Juan Jose Ballesta , Joan Borras , Feodor Atkine , Gotz Otto , Antonio Dechent and many others . Evocative as well as atmospheric musical score by Antoine Duhamel , Fernando Trueba , usual . In addition , a spotless pictorial cinematography by Jose Luis Lopez Linares and a willingness , almost perfect of the elements of each shot , every sequence , every space ; being filmed in Barcelona . The picture lavishly produced by great producer Andres Vicente Gomez and Cristina Huete results entertaining and well worth your time , though sometimes turns out to be slow moving . The film is deep , but never somber , no small accomplishment from Fernando Trueba and his team.

This intelligent , delightful motion picture was well directed by Fernando Trueba . His first success was Ópera Prima (1980) following the style of the "Madrid comedy". He had major success with Sé Infiel y No mires Quién (1985) also known as : Be Wanton and Tread No Shame , starting a longer collaboration with the producer Andrés Vicente Gómez . He went on directing numerous successes such as Coarse salt , Too Much , Milagro de Candeal , Year of Enlightment , The Girl of Your Dreams , Calle 54 , Embrujo De Shanghai , Chico and Rita . Trueba was President of the Spanish Academy of Motion Picture Arts and he received the 1994 Oscar for Best Foreign Film to Belle Epoque (1992) . His last film was ¨ The Artist and the model¨ again with Aida Folch .

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Storyline

Plot Summary


Genres

Drama | Mystery

Details

Release Date:

12 April 2002

Language

Spanish, Catalan


Country of Origin

Spain, France, UK

Filming Locations

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

€518,960 (Spain) (14 April 2002)

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