Shanghai Ghetto


Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19

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Critic Reviews

  1. 88
    One thing that strikes you as you watch Shanghai Ghetto is how little mingling there was between the Chinese and the Jews.
  2. Especially interesting are the complex relations among the residents of the ghetto.
  3. This is a vital history lesson that many of us have missed but few are likely to forget.
  4. 75
    May not be as dramatic as Roman Polanski's ''The Pianist,'' but its compassionate spirit soars every bit as high.
  5. Consisting mostly of talking-head interviews, the film isn't especially dynamic, but it brims with insightful, poignant memories from survivors.
  6. Where so many Holocaust documentaries remember the past and preach not to repeat it, Shanghai Ghetto remembers the past and teaches the relativity of experience.
  7. The account is highly informative, although it would come across more vividly if there were fewer talking heads and longer stretches of archival footage.
  8. 75
    A salute to those who were blessed not only with savvy and courage, but something between an uncanny sense of foresight and an unforeseen stroke of good fortune.
  9. A serious and thoughtful documentary.
  10. 70
    The subject may be familiar to those who happened to catch the 1998 documentary "Port of Last Resort," but this remarkable true story certainly bears repeating.
  11. 70
    Despite the film's shortcomings, the stories are quietly moving.
  12. 70
    The film uses standard techniques to tell its tale -- videotaped interviews with survivors interspersed with newsreel images from the period -- but does so with integrity and attention to detail.
  13. 70
    One of the most fascinating and least documented tributaries of the Jewish experience in World War II.
  14. The storytelling is eloquent and genuine, but the Manns' unadventurous approach (compared to, for instance, last year's intimate road movie "Fighter") rarely hits emotional pay dirt.
  15. 50
    The documentary is much too conventional -- lots of boring talking heads, etc. -- to do the subject matter justice.
  16. 50
    The material is more interesting than the film's rather dry mode of presentation, which is somewhat hampered by a dearth of archival footage.
  17. Should be applauded for finding a new angle on a tireless story, but you might want to think twice before booking passage.

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