Starring: Jarred Harris, Xia Yu
Director: Ann Hu
IF you normally shy away from foreign language films, Shadow Magic could be the gentlest introduction to this window on another world.
In 1902 Raymond Wallace (Jared Harris) goes to China in search of his fortune. He is selling moving pictures. Liu Jinglun (Xia Yu), a talented stills photographer, joins him in promoting and later making films.
Loosely based on fact, Shadow Magic is a slow, enjoyable and character driven film.
Shadow Magic is a subtle, but tellingly ideological tale.
Beautifully shot and lit, Shadow Magic plays up the genre of a film-within-a-film very well and uses archival Chinese film footage to great effect. The friendship between Wallace and Liu is the core of Shadow Magic and we are given time to feel for their plight and wonder what became of them.