There were the usual speeches, parades of past award winners, and hordes of local media. But the star wattage on the red carpet (which was strewn with gold cups and an oversized Cadillac) was a couple of notches lower than in previous years. And on the industry side, there is similarly little expectation of a deals-announcement frenzy.
Last year the corridors and conference rooms of the festival-owned Crowne Plaza throbbed with slate announcements of jaw-dropping proportions. Numerous new connections were being made between Chinese companies and overseas filmmakers, many from Hollywood.
But the intervening year has been an instructive one. In hindsight, the 2016 Shanghai festival looks like the last hurrah of an old era when everything and anything seemed possible.
Soon after the festival,