Step Inside: The Magical World of the Shanghai Film Museum

By Urban Family, August 23, 2018

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This article originally appeared on our sister website, Urban Family Shanghai.

By Urban Family

Step inside the magical world of cinema and immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of motion pictures at the Shanghai Film Museum. Appealing to all members of the family, anyone who loves movies will have a fulfilling few hours spent here. Spanning four floors, you'll find detailed information on the history and craft of filmmaking through multimedia presentations and interactive games.

As you enter the museum on the fourth floor, a motion sensor 'Walk of Fame' welcomes you with thundering applause and blinding lights. This 'faux' paparazzi moment is a fun way to get into the feel of things. Upon entering the exhibition room, you are introduced to the birth of Shanghai's film industry in 1896, before walking down a gallery featuring well-known actors and actresses from the Republican Era. Your wander within this room is accompanied by nostalgic recordings of old songs and miniature scenes capturing iconic Shanghai film sets from back in the day before shopping malls and neon lights adorned the Nanjing Lu pedestrian street.

Images via Mandy Tie/Urban Family

Down to the third level exhibition room, the development of China's film industry – pioneered by studios in Shanghai – is vividly illustrated through video projections and a comprehensive collection of gadgets. The 'River of Films' gallery, for instance, is comprised of a dozen touchscreens showcasing a timeline of domestically produced titles, each followed by a synopsis. Film reels, director's cameras, lighting equipment and notably, Shanghai's first imported audio mixer, line the opposite side of the room. There are small sound studios to experiment with digital sound effects on the microphone, and you can try voiceover clips from classics like Garfield & Friends and The Mask of Zorro. These perfectly capture the mechanisms behind filmmaking, as well as the diverse professions that are invested in the production process, an excellent way for kids to appreciate the work that goes into their favorite movies.

Image via Mandy Tie/Urban Family

The most entertaining part is the 'Animation' section on the second level. In the first room, kids can practice 'motion-capture' techniques by mimicking the movements of animated characters. More interactive stations are in place to demonstrate the principles of animation. If kids are keen to try their hands at depicting a scene or a sequence, they can do so at the arts and crafts workshops on the same museum level. 

Image via Mandy Tie/Urban Family

Back on ground level, you have the option to watch a 4D screening of the Chinese animated classic The Monkey King at the Art Cinema. Outside, a robot guides visitors through the international accolades that Chinese film crews have garnered through the years, before finishing with a brief account of the PRC's national anthem.

Image via Mandy Tie/Urban Family

The experience at the Shanghai Film Museum is altogether enjoyable, despite the occasional lack of English instructions and frequent insertion of patriotic messages. For kids, however, the interactive features are enough to suffice an inspiring visit, and we hope families will enjoy it as much as we did.

[Cover image via Mandy Tie/Urban Family]

Tue-Sun, 9am-5pm, RMB60, RMB30 student concession, Art Cinema screening additional RMB30 per person (six sessions per film daily). Suitable for kids aged 8 and above. 595 Caoxi Bei Lu, by Puhuitang Lu 漕溪北路595号, 近蒲汇塘路 (6426 8666). Find them at WeChat ID 'shfilmmuseum'

This article was originally published by our sister magazine Urban Family Shanghai. For more articles like this, visit the Urban Family website, or follow the Urban Family WeChat account (ID: urbanfamilyshanghai).

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