Visual Shanghai

Updated: 2008-04-24 10:45

"Visual Shanghai," a documentary series dedicated to the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, has just wrapped filming. The series, comprising eight, 30-minute short films, documents the city's unique characteristics and the lives of its residents.

What enchants you most about Shanghai? Its people? Its vigor? Or its diversity? Everyone probably has a different answer to that question. But to 24-year-old Zero Lin, director of the episode "Sound Breath," it is the rhythm of the city that gives him inspiration.

"At first, there was one theme called "Shanghai Rhythm" that I was quite interested in, so I started writing a story about sound. I've listened to the different sounds of the city and the sounds of its silence."

Lin's childhood experiences traveling between Shanghai and his hometown in Zhejiang made him more attuned to his surroundings than other people.

"I used to take a coach between the two places. Every time I entered the city, it was in the early morning. That's why I'm familiar with how Shanghai looks and sounds in the morning.

"There are people doing exercises, garbage trucks cleaning the streets, and postmen delivering newspapers. I think Shanghai is most beautiful in the morning, with its empty roads lit by the morning sun. Without so much human interruption, you can hear the true beat of the city."

The morning serves as an overture in "Sound Breath." The rest of the film is composed of four parts: childhood, water, stage and night. And compared to the modern faces of the city, the young director really seems to appreciate Old Shanghai more.

"I think Shanghai was even more stylish in history. But a lot of people, including me, still like the city is because it's such a young and energetic one full of possibilities. Through all these developments and changes, it strives to find its own unique style."

Because of these possibilities, the documentaries themselves are as colorful as a kaleidoscope. In addition to "Sound Breath," "Visual Shanghai" comprises seven other short films, each portraying the city from a different angle.

Huang Yinghao, a famous artist from Shanghai, is the chief director of the documentary series.

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