Intro to Chinese Film

Bocai Jan 29, 2024
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  • Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

    Director: Dai Sijie

    The story revolves around two young Chinese boys of bourgeois background who were sent to a remote village in Sichuan province for three years of re-education during the Cultural Revolution. They both fell in love with a beautiful local girl, granddaughter of an old tailor and known to everyone as the "Little Seamstress". During those years of intellectual oppression, the three found solace and liberation in a collection of banned translated novels by Western authors, among whom their favourite was Balzac. The film explores the themes of youth, love, and freedom in those dark times in China. (ENG subs)

  • Crows and Sparrows

    2. Crows and Sparrows

    Chinese Movie - 1949

     Director: Zheng Jun Li 

    A story of a corrupt party official who attempts to sell an apartment building he has appropriated from the original owner and the struggles of the tenants to prevent themselves being thrown onto the street. (ENG Subs)

  • Curse of the Golden Flower

    3. Curse of the Golden Flower

    Chinese Movie - 2006


    Director: Zhang Yi Mou 

    Strongly influenced by the play Thunderstorm by Cau Yu, Curse of the Golden Flower tells the story of family, forbidden love, and betrayal in the Imperial Court in ancient China. In 928 A.D, on the eve of the Chong Yang Festival, golden flowers fill the Imperial Palace. The Emperor returns unexpectedly with his second son, Prince Jai. His pretext is to celebrate the holiday with his family, but given the chilled relations between the Emperor and the ailing Empress, this seems disingenuous. For many years, the Empress and Crown Prince Wan, her stepson, have had an illicit liaison. Feeling trapped, Prince Wan dreams of escaping the palace with his secret love Chan, the Imperial Doctor´s daughter. Meanwhile, Prince Jai, the faithful son, grows worried over the Empress´s health and her obsession with golden chrysanthemums. Could she be headed on an ominous path?

  • Farewell My Concubine

    4. Farewell My Concubine

    Chinese Movie - 1993


    Director: Chen Kai Ge 

    In 1924, Beijing, the youthful Dou Zi and Shi Tou were brought together under the thumb of the strict master of a small acting troupe. It quickly becomes apparent that these are the most talented of the master's pupils, and he pushes them harder than his other students. Thirteen years later, their suffering has paid off. Dou Zi, now going by the name of Chen Die Yi, and Shi Tou, called Duan Xiao Lou, are major opera stars, and their production, "Farewell My Concubine", is nationally known. The two are inseparable until the woman Ju Xian comes between them. (ENG subs)

  • Hero

    5. Hero

    Chinese Movie - 2002


    Screenwriter & Director: Zhang Yi Mou

    In ancient China during the Warring States Period, a nameless prefect of a small jurisdiction arrives at the Qin state's capital city to meet the king of Qin. The king has just survived an attempt on his life by three feared assassins (Long Sky, Flying Snow and Broken Sword) and has taken precautions to protect himself, including forbidding visitors to approach closer than 100 paces to his throne. Nameless claims that he had slain the three assassins, and he displays their weapons before the king, who is impressed and allows Nameless to sit progressively closer to him and tell him his story.

  • In the Mood for Love

    6. In the Mood for Love

    Hong Kong Movie - 2000


    Director: Wong Kar Wai 

    The film takes place in Hong Kong, 1962. Chow Mo Wan, a journalist, rents a room in an apartment of a building on the same day as So Lai Zhen, a secretary from a shipping company. They become next-door neighbors. Each has a spouse who works and often leaves them alone on overtime shifts. Despite the presence of a friendly Shanghainese landlady, Mrs. Suen, and bustling, mahjong-playing neighbours, Chow and So often find themselves alone in their rooms. Their lives continue to intersect in everyday situations: a recurring motif in this film is the loneliness of eating alone, and the film documents the leads' chance encounters, each making their individual trek to the street noodle stall. Chow and So each nurse suspicions about their own spouse's fidelity; each comes to the conclusion that their spouses have been seeing each other. So wonders aloud how their spouse's affair might have begun, and together, So and Chow re-enact what they imagine might have happened.

  • Raise the Red Lantern

    7. Raise the Red Lantern

    Chinese Movie - 1991


    Director: Zhang Yi Mou 

    China in the 1920s. After her father's death, nineteen-year-old Song Lian is forced to marry Chen Zuo Qian, the lord of a powerful family. Fifty-year-old Chen already has three wives, each of them living in separate houses within the great castle. The competition between the wives is tough, as their master's attention carries power, status and privilege. Each night Chen must decide with which wife to spend the night, and a red lantern is lit in front of the house of his choice. And each wife schemes and plots to make sure it's hers. However, things get out of hand. (ENG Subs)

  • Suzhou River

    8. Suzhou River

    Chinese Movie - 2000


    Director: Lou Ye, Mao Xiao Rui 

    A lonely man with a video camera wanders the streets of Shanghai, making up stories about the people he sees crossing the bridges or passing by on riverboats down the Suzhou River. His girlfriend, Meimei, has left him without explanation. One day, he is jolted out of his misery by a visitor, Mardar, a motorcycle courier, who has just been released from jail for kidnapping his teenage girlfriend, Mou Dan. Having discovered that Mardar betrayed her, Mou Dan allegedly jumped off a bridge into the Suzhou River. Only Mardar is convinced that she is still alive.  

  • The Goddess

    9. The Goddess

    Chinese Movie - 1934


    Director: Wu Yong Gang 

    Street walker by night, devoted mother by day, a woman fights to get her young son an education amid criminal and social injustice in China. (ENG subs)

  • To Live

    10. To Live

    Chinese Movie - 1994


    Director: Zhang Yi Mou, Wang Bin 

    Fu Gui and Jia Zhen endure tumultuous events in China as their personal fortunes move from wealthy landownership to peasantry. Addicted to gambling, Fu Gui loses everything. In the years that follow, he is pressed into both the nationalist and communist armies, while Jia Zhen is forced into menial work. They raise a family and survive, managing "to live" from the '40s to the '70s in this epic but personal story of life through an amazing period. (ENG subs)