The Shanghai Spell

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The Shanghai Spell
El embrujo de Shanghai
Directed by Fernando Trueba
Screenplay by Fernando Trueba
Based on El embrujo de Shanghai 
by Juan Marsé
Starring Fernando Tielve
Aida Folch
Fernando Fernán Gómez
Ariadna Gil
Music by Antoine Duhamel
Release dates
  • 12 April 2002 (2002-04-12) (Spain)
Country Spain
Language Spanish

The Shanghai Spell (Spanish: El embrujo de Shanghai) is a 2002 Spanish film written and directed by Fernando Trueba. The film is based on the novella of the same name written by Juan Marsé and published in 1993.


The film is set in the Gràcia district of Barcelona, in the wake of the Spanish Civil War.[1] Fourteen-year-old Dani (Fernando Tielve) is a budding artist, who looks after Captain Blay (Fernando Fernán Gómez), an ageing civil war veteran. Blay suggests Dani draw local girl Susana (Aida Folch) as the subject of a poster warning of the dangers of factory smoke causing consumption. Dani and Susana begin a tentative romance, as they hear stories of Susana's father's exploits as a secret agent in the Chinese city of Shanghai from one of his wartime colleagues.[2]


The Shanghai Spell was nominated in several categories at the 17th Goya Awards in February 2003. The film won the awards for Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design and Best Makeup and Hairstyles; and was nominated for Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, and Best Production Supervision.


  1. ^ Simonis, Damien (2010). Lonely Planet Cityguide: Barcelona. Melbourne: Lonely Planet. ISBN 1742204058. 
  2. ^ Shanghai Spell, SBS Films.

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