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Xia Yu (Liu Jinglun) is one of China's best known young actors. Xia Yu has won numerous awards, including Best Actor at the 1994 Venice Film Festival for "In the Heat of the Sun." Since "Shadow Magic," Xia Yu has starred in a new film, "Where Have All the Flowers Gone."

Regarding his role in "Shadow Magic," Yu says, "I didn't take on any project for three years as I didn't find any script that would surpass the character I had played in my previous film. When I got the script of 'Shadow Magic,' I could see the images in my mind while I was reading it. There is no age difference between myself and Liu, and I felt everything that Liu feels. He is like a fly bumping into walls, he is always in troubleŅit is so much like myself."

For his preparation as Liu, Xia Yu read books about the turn of the century in China, and went to visit old photo shop owners. He spent time working in cinema and photo shops while wearing his costumes so he would be comfortable in period clothing. "Unfortunately, the old style faded long ago. I had to imagine a lot. But when we were on set, mixed in with other actors in costumes and among the period props, I found my inspiration from my environment."