Crossroads

dir. Shen Xiling

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

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Due to circumstances beyond our control, the screening of CROSSROADS scheduled on Saturday July 6 at 1pm, has been cancelled. We apologize for any inconvenience.

A free (and music-free) adaptation of La Bohème crossed with Frank Borzage's romantic and socially conscious Hollywood classics, Crossroads is a charming, engrossing, and finally heartbreaking portrait of impoverished young artists in Depression-era Shanghai.

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A free (and music-free) adaptation of La Bohème crossed with Frank Borzage's romantic and socially conscious Hollywood classics, Crossroads is a charming, engrossing, and finally heartbreaking portrait of impoverished young artists in Depression-era Shanghai. Four unemployed, artistically-minded friends are increasingly downhearted by their poverty and lack of opportunity. As talk of suicide floats through the air, one of the guys has to contend with an annoying new neighbour, who turns out to be the girl of his dreams. Much situational comedy, and occasional tragedy, ensues, until everyone marches off to defend the country against the invading Japanese. Directed by Shen Xiling, a leading figure in the progressive cinema movement (and famed for the seminal film The Boatman's Daughter), Crossroads possesses a sweetness and joy that belies its political agenda, infusing the Shanghai leftist-cinema template with frothy, dynamically Hollywood-style energy, helped considerably by the Jimmy Stewart-like Zhao Dan in the lead role. The film's mix of exuberant humour and down-and-out alienation finds an echo six decades later in the work of the Sixth Generation filmmakers, especially Wang Xiaoshuai's The Days (screening on June 30).