“Shanghai Calling” Movie Review

Shanghai Calling is a 2012 romantic-comedy movie about modern day American immigrants from different walks of life, who are residing in Shanghai. Shanghai Calling is a Sino-American co-production made possible by China Film Group Corporation (China Film Co., Ltd.), Americatown, LLC, and Manifest Films. The film was written and directed by Daniel Hsia and produced by Janet Yang. The film features an international star-studded cast which includes Daniel Henney, Eliza Coupe, Geng Le, Zhu Zhu, Alan Ruck, and Bill Paxton.

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The film, Shanghai Calling, attempts to tell a unique story that has remained fairly unknown to the world. It is an exhibition of cultural exchange between China and the United States, a fresh perspective that is rarely seen in the movie industry. It is a portrait of modern China and most importantly a major Chinese city, Shanghai. The film clearly shows evidence of ways in which globalization has manifested itself in Shanghai even till today.

The movie is about an ambitious American corporate attorney named Sam Chao, a half-Asian, who though his obliviousness to the world outside his New York City bubble led him into many instances of culture clash when his bosses send him to Shanghai for a few months on assignment. He found himself in many awkward situations which he understandably handled badly because of his lack of enthusiasm and poor understanding of cultural differences including business etiquette, family values and ‘face’. Sam struggles to adapt to his new surroundings, a problem that was further inflated by the fact that all of the people around him assumed that he could speak Chinese simply because he looked Chinese. The movie scenes where Sam tries to cope with an avalanche of language barriers and cultural shocks were the most pleasurable to watch.

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In the beginning of this, movie, a statement that I fully concur with was said, which says “Shanghai is like a beautiful girl. Seductive, mysterious, and these days, very attractive to foreign businessmen”. The city is located on the coast of the East China Sea between the mouth of the Yangtze River to the north and the bay of Hangzhou to the south. The city’s maritime location fosters a mild climate characterized by minimal seasonal contrast. Mass migration from all across China and the rest of the world has made Shanghai a melting pot of different cultures. Shanghai is a very feminine city; she is like a wealthy girl. Shanghai is one of the world’s largest seaports and a major industrial and commercial center of China.

Since the adoption of the reformist and open-door policy some years ago, the breadth and depth of the Chinese economy has been improving making China and Shanghai in particular very attractive to foreign businessmen. Shanghai is fast becoming one of the most progressive global cities when it comes to economic opportunity. This is the reason why it has emerged as a place where foreign players want to create and do business. Not only does Shanghai host the headquarters of many multinational companies but more multinational companies are planning to set up headquarters in that city.

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