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Chameleonic director Michael Winterbottom sets his foray into science-fiction in a dystopian future where procreation is strictly regulated. Travel is also restricted, with very firm boundaries existing between areas ‘outside’ and ‘inside’. Tim Robbins is the investigator sent to Shanghai to expose a forger (Samantha Morton) of papers enabling people to travel between zones, but with whom he instead begins a doomed love affair.

Winterbottom’s Shanghai is what one writer termed an “architectural collage”; this city is made up of footage filmed in Dubai, India and London, as well as Shanghai itself, editing the urban space into a seamless whole that creates a timeless city, and one that proves both familiar and unfamiliar to Western audiences more used to cinematic depictions of European and American cityscapes. 

This film is screening as part of The Fourth Wall season, presented at the IFI in association with the Irish Architecture Foundation (July 28th – 29th 2012).

93 minutes, U.K., 2003, Colour, 35mm


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