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Shanghai Panic

Andrew Yusu Cheng

Release year: 2000

Run time: 87 mins

Film type: Fiction


Drifting through the city’s booming, frenetic club scene in an ephedrine haze is Bei, a former ballet star, who begins to develop AIDS-like symptoms. Worried, he confides in his three best friends. To help come to terms with the idea that Bei may really be sick, the four spend their time getting high on cheap drugs, hanging out in KTV rooms and wandering down to the waterfronts to ruminate on life.

When faced with the reality of the possibility of AIDS in their circle, the bond between the foursome only grows deeper and stronger. When the relationship between Bei and his friend Jie start to develop into something more, it brings out the surface feeling that have been clocked since childhood, as well as questions about the boys’ sexual orientation.


Director biography

Since 1997, Andrew Yusu Cheng has been a key initiator of the Chinese DV film movement. His films Shanghai Panic and Welcome to Destination Shanghai were screened at over 30 film festivals, won prestigious prizes at Rotterdam (Grand Prix FIPRESCI), Vancouver ( Dragons and Tigers), Berlin (Nomination Award), exhibited at MoMA, the Lincoln Centre, and the Centre Georges Pompidou, and broadcast on BBC, Channel Four, CBS, and China’s Central Television Station.

In 2014,Andrew Cheng’s road movie Zero Thousand Li under the Clouds and Moon was listed in Time Out’s 100 Best Chinese Films of All Time , as voted by international experts on Chinese cinema.

Andrew Yusu Cheng is the recipient of Australian Prime Minister’s Australia-Asia Endeavour Award, and holds a PhD in Film and Television from the Victorian College of the Arts, the University of Melbourne, as well as a PhD in Chinese Philosophy and Buddhism from Peking University. He is currently is a Senior Research Fellow in the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, Monash University, Australia.