Shanghai Cinema studio had been on my visit list for a long time. The studio is famous to host a rebuilt version of Old Shanghai and was the film location for for period movies and TV series, including “Lust, caution” and “繁花 / Shanghai blossoms“, as well as , “Shanghai Shanghai” and “The last tycoon“. It takes a long drive to reach the location in SongJiang but the trip is well worth it.
The most impressive sight is surely the small strech of rebuilt 1930’s Nanking Road. Centered around the corner of Nanjing Dong Lu and Zhejiang Lu, the side includes a fake Wing On store, a fake Sincere store and and a fake Sun Sun Store. Picture perfect with period signs and tramway karts driving around, it really gives the atmosphere of time travel. The ground floor of the buildings is well replicated, with the higher floor being rebuilt on a smaller scale, a normal feature of movie sets and backgrounds. Walking around there feels very much like walking in an Old Shanghai postcard. Only missing would be the hundreds of people that normally go around this very busy part of the city.
The picture would not be complete with the tramway, with the short ride being the only way to ever experience tramways in Old Shanghai. The tramway shakes and feels just like a real ride in the city, with the noises and motions I used to experience on the oldest lines of Budapest network. Watching the tramway going up this fake Nanking Road really adds up to the atmosphere.
The rest of the cinema studio is also made of various buildings mostly copied from Old Shanghai. They include a copy of the Moller Villa on Shaanxi Nan Lu, the Hudec building located on Feng Yang Lu and one of the Wing On Extension on Nanjing Dong Lu. There is also a copy of the New World Building that used to be at the end of Nanking Road, now replaced by the (not so nice) New World Shopping center. I was expecting to find a copy of Shanghai’s iconic Garden Bridge, but only found a copy of the other iron bridge that is further up the river. Most of the other buildings are not actual copies, but they fit the general style of the period including the church. It seems very popular for wedding pictures though I don’t think such a church was actually ever built in Shanghai.