Time travel: A visit to Shanghai's Chedun Film Park
Last weekend, my friends invited me on a one-day trip to the Chedun Film Park in Shanghai's suburban Songjiang District. Although I didn't know many details, I happily agreed to go. The idea of visiting a film city sounded exciting, and I always enjoy exploring new places. As Diana Vreeland, a historic fashion figure, once said, "the eye has to travel." Indeed, during this trip, my eyes embarked on a captivating journey through time.
My friends and I met at People Square, and it took us approximately one hour to reach the film city by bus.
On the way, one of my friends said, "When we arrive, you can try on a qipao!" My inner fashionista screamed with excitement, "Really? Wow! I would love to." I had always wanted to wear a qipao, which is a traditional Chinese dress. Its modern version was created in Shanghai during the 1920s. While we were approaching our destination, I looked up more information about costume and how I could style my own look.
We arrived, and my attention was immediately drawn to the vibrant display of colorful vintage signs lining the street, creating an immersive atmosphere reminiscent of a movie set. Indeed, it turned out to be an active shooting location for various films. I noticed that one section of the street had been cordoned off, indicating ongoing filming in that area.
To fully immerse ourselves in the atmosphere of historical cinema, we changed into traditional costumes. It's truly amazing how clothing can profoundly affect one's self-perception. When I put on the qipao, something inside me clicked, and I instantly felt like a Chinese cinema actress. It was an exceptionally beautiful dress, and I felt incredibly stunning while wearing it. In fact, my initial thought was, "This outfit absolutely deserves a place in my wardrobe!"
Afterward, we proceeded to explore the shooting locations. It was really interesting to discover all the historical props there - from a bridal chamber to an ancient study room. It was fascinating to witness the intricate details, such as drawings on antique Chinese vases.
Additionally, there was a hall dedicated to showcasing footage from various old films, which I found especially captivating. As a devoted movie lover, I watch films constantly, although my exposure to Chinese cinema, particularly the older classics, has been yet to bloom.
I asked the lady showing us around as a guide to recommend movies to watch. Now I have my list of movies that I plan to watch in the near future, I can share it with you:
1) "The Goddess" (1934) by Wu Yonggang,
2) "Street Angel" (1937) by Yuan Muzhi
3) "Spring in a Small Town" (1948) by Fei Mu
After exploring all the indoor props, we continued our journey outdoors. We reached the main square, where there were enchanting mimes. From their costumes, I recognized characters from the beloved children's book, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz". Accompanied by the mesmerizing music of Jan Tiersen, they brought the pantomimes to life. Oh, how I cherished that book during my childhood! Just like the characters in the story, each on their own unique quest, searching for courage, love, or wisdom, these performers embodied the essence of their respective journeys. Just like the heroes, they too eventually discovered what they were seeking.
The film park is truly "a city within a city" – the space is too big to discover everything in one day. It's a great place for movie enthusiasts and a must-visit for those seeking unique settings for memorable photoshoots. Don't forget to bring along a few costumes to truly immerse yourself in the ambiance. You can even embrace the atmosphere of a bygone era by wearing traditional Chinese outfits, transporting yourself back to the bustling streets of 20th-century Shanghai.
After we left, we continued our journey by heading to the Chenshan Botanical Garden to attend a classical music concert. But that is another story. Follow me and keep reading to find out more.