Shanghai Tales


3 x 60 min.

Presented as a three-part series of interconnected documentary films, Shanghai Tales portrays modern China through the lives of the people living in one of its busiest and most iconic cities.



Three films about modern China seen from the inside. The series explores Chinese society via a set of topics that complement one another and can also easily be related to by a western or global audience. The films are built around the core facets of human nature, love and loss, progression and change, doubt and hope, happiness, and melancholy. These stories provide a window into China, an opportunity to assess the similarities and learn from the differences between our cultures. The audience can empathize with the lives of the film’s subjects as their experiences and dilemmas are familiar and universal concepts: The difficulties of childhood, growing up and developing through adolescence, the challenge of balancing work and family and the problems encountered by tradition, marriage and the expectations of family and parenting. Both moving and poignant, these stories are presented in an elegant and understated style, complimenting one another to paint a portrait of contemporary China through the unpublished lives of its everyday people. The films: The War of Growing Up The lives of a class of school children during their final year before graduating to high school. An insightful look into the Chinese education system that generates a powerful and compelling narrative formed from the dynamics of the classroom. All About my Friend A portrait of the life of Lui Wei, close friend of the director and a man who epitomizes his vision of Shanghai, its peoples, and life in the bustling metropolises of urban China. Utopia The moving story of a woman’s sadness brought on by the pressures of tradition and an in-depth tale of familial relationships in China.

  • Director

    Guo Jing & Ke Dingding

  • Producer

    Lawrence Elman

  • Produced by

    Amber Entertainment for BBC

  • Original title

    Shanghai Tales

  • Format

    3 x 60 min.

  • Release