In the late 1980’s Shanghai, a 16 year-old boy, Xiaoli, comes of age surrounded by his neighbors and grandfather. His best friend is a girl named Lanmi, a couple years older than him. But Lanmi slowly drifts away from him, lured by the new opportunities which come as China opens up to foreign goods and businessmen. At the same time, the 1989 events force Xiaoli to grow up and to let go of his teenage dreams. A film that poignantly depicts the struggle of a country confronted with a new order. It is also a personal and touching view of a world that no longer exist.
Shu Haolun‘s 2010 coming-of-age film No. 89 Shimen Road presents an archetypical study of longings and movements, rhapsodizing the personal and political as a long form narrative reminiscence. The story unfolds in 1989 Shanghai, from the shutter of Xiaoli, a high school student and self-proclaimed aspiring Henri Cartier-Bresson. Xiaoli largely ignores the revisionist propaganda he’s fed at school, preferring to document his world – elderly “uncles” chewing over the nightmares of the recent past, daily life in the longtang where he lives with his grandfather, and his friend Lanmi, an alluring neighbor who becomes the very embodiment of his teenage lust – in black and white stills that he sends to his mother in America.
Subtitles:English, German, French