Shanghai Tales


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.


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Shanghai Tales

Shanghai Tales

Three films about modern China seen from the inside

The series explores Chinese society via a set of topics that compliment 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 asses the similarities and learn from the differences between our cultures. The audience can empathise 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in an elegant and understated style, complimenting one another to paint a portrait of contemporary China through the unpublished lives of its everyday people.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 epitomises his vision of Shanghai, its peoples, and life in the bustling metropolises of urban China.


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.

Directors Guo Jing & Ke Dingding
Producer Lawrence Elman
Produced by Amber Entertainment for BBC
Duration 3 x 60 min.
Year of Production 2009
Original Title Shanghai Tales