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Shanghai Triad

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Shanghai Triad

Shanghai Triad, directed in 1995 by Yimou Zhanghai, is a Chinese Mafia story of the mob boss’ mistress, told from her14 year old male servant’s point of view. Set in Shanghai of the 1930’s, the scenes are full of tension and mounting imprisonment amidst decadent, opulent night clubs and mansions. Eventually, the mobster and his entourage hide out in simple peasant housing on a distant island, when gang rivalry culminates in the multiple deaths, including the mistress.
If I were to show this film in a Language Arts class, I would ask students to examine its:
· Once corrupted, a return to innocence is impossible
· Man’s capacity for love and generosity become corrupted by power, revenge, and greed for material possessions.
· A man’s wealth and power can imprison a woman and lead to great suffering

point of view
· What is the film’s first image? (boy is looking for his uncle)
· What is the film’s last image? (boy’s coins are falling into the sea)
· What key events are introduced through the boy’s viewpoint? (meeting Miss, observing the drug-related shooting, entering the nightclub, spying on Miss and her lover, Song, witnessing Miss’ death)
· How does the choice of viewpoint impact the story-telling?
· Who is the main character that changes the most – Miss or the boy?

edited by egoebel on 4/27/2012