China Film
25 June 2024

A Day at the Shanghai Film Studio

Several years ago while visiting the Shanghai Film Studio, I photographed these actors on their lunch break. All dressed in identical black suits, they were part of a gangster film set in 1930s Shanghai.

On this day, the studio was buzzing with activity. The gangster film was shooting a car chase and crowd scenes in front of a large green screen. Costume trucks and lunch tables were set up in front of a fake shipyard.

Nearby, the production crew was setting in place props and signs along the streetscape for the next day’s shooting.

Meanwhile, the studio also runs a side business as a venue for wedding photography. As a smoke machine in use for the gangster film filled the street with fog, couples converged around the old cars, taking advantage of the misty, nostalgic atmosphere.

This was one of many visits I made to the Studio, which has been used for many period films and tv shows, including a few Hollywood films, set in early 20th century Shanghai. Parts of the existing streetscape were built for Ang Lee’s ‘Lust, Caution’, which takes place during the Japanese occupation. I previously edited a short video montage of some of the films shot here over the years.

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