House of Flying Daggers (or Shi Mian Mai Fu)

Went to see Zhangyimou’s film Shi Man Mai Fu (or House of Flying Daggers) in the theator of Super Brand Mall.


Image in courtesy of

I don’t have too much comments on this film. A perfect film on visual effects but so-so in the story.


Image in courtesy of the Theater at SBM


Image in courtesy of the Theater at SBM

Most of Shanghai’s theater has been equiped with cutting-edge audio, video and environment facilities. It is seldom see “large theater halls”. As shown on the pictures, the hall is not large – I was sitting at the left most seat of the last row.

What’s On in Shanghai

Oh. The recent two film posters (one, two) reminded me of the old question my foreign friends asked me: “Is there any English film in town?”

Yes. Yes. There are many English films in the city with original voice and Chinese subtitle. As JH and I discussed under the article Mona Lisa Smile, China is following the international tradition to show the original film now. Many foreign films like Fanfan La Tulipe are introduced.

Here are some website you can get film information in Shanghai:

That’s Shanghai (Chinese site)

Cinema Guide

My favorite is the Kodak Super Cinema in Metro City. They are so far the most professional theater I saw.

For example, the UME in Xintiandi I went the day before yesterday is not as professional. Why? The devil’s in the details. I see a big space for the management of the theater to improve. The design of the theater is very cool. So does the poster. But the schedule was printed in normal A4 paper causually and posted everywhere. Many of them are broken already. It is the minor things like this that damages the brand of UME or any theater.

Film Mona Lisa Smile

Wendy and I went to the UME theater at Xintiandi. The film is named Mona Lisa Smile by Julia Roberts.

Late Movie

It was the latest show of the day. It started at 11:10 PM. I am lucky to live in a city that there is a theater serving film as late as 11:00 PM. Of cause, we were really tired after we got out of the theater around 1:20 AM in the morning of today.

There are only 8 persons in the well equipped theater. So the film was almost exclusive for us.

Credit: Sony Pictures

Original Movie

It is worth noting that many American movies are shown in original language – English – in theaters with Chinese subtitle. I often watch movies but didn’t watch any translated film yet. What does it mean? Is it an indicator of internationalization, or the lose of local language? I don’t know.

Drama – Forget Me Tonight

Tonight, Wendy and I went to see the drama named Forget Me Tonight. It was adopted from Chengdu, please forget me tonight (Chinese literature). The original noval was exteremely popular in the year of 2002.


Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang in courtesy of Shanghai Art Center at Anfu Road.

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang in courtesy of staff of Forget Me Tonight. (Shamelessly took this image during the performance)

I will recommend it to my friends since it is real life of the generation about 5 years elder than me. It is on show on Jan 24, 25, 26, 30, 31 and Feb 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 at 288 Anfu Road. The ticket price is 80 RMB per person. It is small theater dramer. There are less than 150 audience there.

Matrix Revolutions

I just returned from the film Matrix. I did hesitate for quite a while before I decided to pay 60 RMB to the Kodak Theater at Metro City to see the film. After I get out of the theater, still having all the stories in my mind, I have to say, I will make the decision to see it again – it is just fanatics. It is a good practice to go beyond imagination and a good test of one’s logic ability.


Credit: Whatisthematrix

Online PRG Games – A Good Analogy

My friend XGAO who came with me to the field give a very good analogy to understand the Matrix.

In the Matrix I, actually, it is tell a story just like the current online PRG games:

The Human Factor

The game fans eat and sleep in a small room with a computer terminal. They have their roles in the game – the virtual world: soldier, farmer, ghost, etc.. you name it. They don’t have any real relationships in the real world. They talk, live and work in the online games.

In Matrix, it is exactly the same. However, it is more ugly. Human beings are not treated in small rooms – they are put into tubes without being aware of. :-) What a good design.

The Matrix Factor

In the online games, all the human player follow the same role – you have to fight to gain strength points. You have to work to gain money. You need to at least walk around to gain experience. The increase in the value needs your work.

When two persons fight, the one with higher strength point win. Pretty fare – just like the vitural socioty in Matrix. No one will notice it is actually a program.

So who is the matrix? The online game operator in real world is the matrix. They can turn your money to zero if they want. They can erase the whole city including people living in it if they want. They just change the configuration of the program.

From the perspective of the players of the online game, sometimes they will find some roles that cannot be defeated. They have the highest power possible – out of the imagination of human being. There is no human behind these roles – they are programs. This is the matrix.


If there are some people who don’t want to follow the rule, they will great some kind of add-on or hacking scripts to falsefully increase one’s power – to be super man. Computer hacks can do it in online games. In the film, these group of people are Neo and all the human beings. They find ways to disobey the rule the Matrix (online game operator in real world) designed. So the Matrix is going to find these people and kill them. This is the story told in Matrix I.

Agent Smith

Actually, Agent Smith is exactly the computer virus in online game system. They gain power and duplicate themselves. It is out of the control of the whole system and will eventually ruin the whole system – alone with all the virtual lives in the system. This is what the system operators (in the analogy – The online game operator (like Sina or Netease in China)) don’t want to see.

The War

Since Agent Smithes get stronger and stronger, there are three parties in the game – the matrix, the human and the virus. The matrix accepted Neo (the hacker)’s proposal of peace. The Matrix can only rely on the hackers to remove the virus (Agent Smith) from the computer system. So it stops attacking the human being after Neo did the job.

The Oracle

Oracle is also part of the system who is in favor of the hackers.

Thanks for XGAO for the great analogy.