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Vanessa McMahon

Vanessa is a novel writer, screenwriter, rep and a film producer. She shares her discoveries and film surprises. :-)



EXODUS TO SHANGHAI (2015); A Review.


Directed by Anthony Hickox (“Knife Edge” and “Consequence”), “Exodus to Shanghai” (2015) is an action/drama/comedy based on the true story of war hero Ho Feng-Shan ('Dr. Ho'), otherwise known as 'The Chinese Schindler' who saved thousands of Jews during WWII. Born on September 10, 1901, Dr. Ho studied German at University of Munich and was posted for the consul general in Austria from 1938 to 1940.

When he fell witness to thousands of Austrians being made to leave for concentration camps, Ho stepped in to help them escape the terrors of the Nazi regime and seek political asylum in China. Beloved and renown to younger generations for saving their otherwise doomed family members, Ho is known to many as a Holocaust savior. Dr. Ho died in 1997 at age 96.

In the film, the year is 1938 and the place is Vienna, Austria with the invasion of Nazi Germany inflow when hundreds of thousands of Jews were forced to emigrate the country. Chinese Consul Dr. Ho (played by David Yu) goes against the will of the Nazi regime and its mercenaries to issue Exit Visas to Jews at that strategic time, helping them escape Europe to Shanghai, China.

The film follows Bruce (Alexander Nguyen) and Fannia (Yaara Benbenishty) who fall in love through their mutual admiration for each other and their common cause to fight against the evil zombie-like Nazi fever of the late 1930's. Together Fannia and Bruce battle the Nazis that stand in their way, he with his Jackie Chan caliber martial arts and she with her sublime violin playing talent, as they follow Dr. Ho and thousands of fleeing Jews to the Orient Express where they escape war torn Europe for an exodus to Shanghai.

A quality production and thoroughly researched, “Exodus to Shanghai” delivers a fresh recipe to the WWII genre weaving live song performances of the era (I.e."Bei Mir Bist Du Schön" and various American Jazz numbers) throughout. The film calls to mind other unforgettable films of the same genre- “Swing Kids” for its tribute to the music of the time, “Schindler's List” for the heroic deed of thousands of Jews being saved by a Holocaust hero, “Inglorious Basterds” for its underlying premise that “A Good Nazi is a Dead Nazi”; further, the film is peppered with Kung Fu scenes which give it an action beat that never allows a dull moment. This is by far the prettiest peopled WWII film I have seen yet.

The film held its market premiere at the 2016 Berlinale EFM and has begun to sell worldwide to international distributors. A triumph in cinematography and production quality, the film is sure to be a hit to audiences around the world.

View trailer here:

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