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Electric Shadows (Unrated)

Release Date: December 16th, 2005 (NYC-ImaginAsian Theater) by First Run Features.
The Cast: Wang Zhengjia, Xiz Yu, Qi Zhongyang, Kiang Yihong, Guan Xiaotong, Li Haibin, Zhang Yijing.
Directed by Xiao Jiang. In Mandarin with subtitles.

BASIC PREMISE: Mao (Yu) recalls how he met Ling Ling (Zhongyang) and how they fell in love with cinema when they were children during the Cultural Revolution.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Electric Shadows unfolds as if it were based on a richly-textured. Most of the plot takes place in flashback after Mao ends up reading Ling Ling’s diary after many years of being separated. Since childhood, Ling Ling has lost her hearing and has become mentally unstable—when you first meet her as a teenager, she smashes Mao in the head with a brick. You can’t help but wonder what led to her unfortunate transformation. In the second act, you meet the young Ling Ling (Yijing) who’s insecure and shy but passionate for cinema. Young Mao (Zhengjia) gradually becomes her friend after helping her get away from bullies at school. Although predictable, the rest of the plot takes you deeper into their road of friendship. Most of the time, they watch from her rooftop a movie from a distant outdoor cinema. With its slow pace and attention to detail, you truly care about their lives. What makes Electric Shadows so engaging is that each scene when they are together feels true-to-life and completely believable. Moreover, the gorgeous cinematography immerses you further into the film. There are a few twists at the end of the second act, but each twist is necessary because it both enriches the plot and helps to answer any initial questions from the first act. When the plot returns to the present, the tension builds as you pray that Ling Ling will remember Mao and rekindle their friendship.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Ling Ling and Mao’s childhood friendship has many sweet and tender moments, many of which are joyous. It’s very heartbreaking when Mao’s father separates him from Ling Ling not long after they become friends. Clearly, her life hasn’t been the same since she lost her soul mate. The uplifting ending will lift your spirits and remind you about the importance of love and friendship.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Occasionally predictable.


THE BOTTOM LINE: Highly engrossing and profoundly moving!

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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