Good Chinese Movies for Foreign Film Fans

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 at 6:44 pm

As regular readers probably already known, I’m a big fan of Asian cinema. That why I’ve put together this list of good Chinese movies for foreign film fans. From explosive martial arts action to meditative explorations of life and love, the Chinese have been producing quality films for a long time. Isn’t it time that you jumped on the bandwagon?

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Note: My definition of Chinese cinema includes films from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Mainland China.

Yi Yi: A One and a Two (2000) – Edward Yang wrote and directed this powerhouse film about three generations in the lives of a Taipei businessman and his family. Available as part of the prestigious Criterion Collection, Yang also picked up the award for Best Director at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival.

A Brighter Summer Day (1991) – Considered one of the most important films to ever come out of China, this nearly four hour epic details the events surrounding a teenage girl’s public murder at the hands of her boyfriend. Look for Chinese star Chang Chen in his film debut.

In the Mood for Love (2000) – Tony Leung is a journalist, and Maggie Cheung plays a secretary. They move into an apartment building on the same day, and they get to know one another while their spouses work long hours. But as the drama plays out, the friends begin to suspect their spouses of having an affair with one another, and this only serves to deepen their feelings for one another. Tony Leung won Best Actor at Cannes for his heartbreaking portrayal of a man eluded by true love.

Red Sorghum (1987) – A young woman works at a liquor distillery during the Second Sino-Japanese War. This info foreshadows the death and atrocities to come, but first we’re treated to the protagonist being rescued from a bandit, marrying a leper who’s soon murdered, and inspiring the employees of the distillery to once again take pride in their work. Presenting the hardships and passions of life in rural China, Red Sorghum marks the film debut of Gong Li in the lead role. Directed by Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of Flying Daggers, Raise the Red Lantern).

The Butterfly Murders (1979) – This wuxia film may be hard to track down, but those who manage to find it will be rewarded with an action-packed story about feuding martial artists, a secret weapon, a murder mystery, and killer butterflies.

Platform (2000) – Taking place from the late ‘70s to the early ‘90s, this Jia Zhangke film concentrates on a group of young performers as they face changes in Chinese society and their own personal challenges. It won the Golden Montgolfiere at the Nantes Three Continents Festival, so you know it’s got to be good.

Fist of Fury (1972) – Bruce Lee follows up The Big Boss with this martial arts tale of honor and revenge. After his master is murdered, Chinese martial artist Chen Zhen (Lee) goes looking for those responsible. In the process, he becomes a symbol of national pride for the people of China. Highly influential, this film marked a transition from swordplay to hand-to-hand combat in kung fu movies. Sadly, Bruce Lee would pass away one year later, his vision far from being realized.

Blind Shaft (2003) – Banned in China, this compelling drama tells the story of two murderous con artists plying their trade in the country’s illegal coal mines. The con may be fictional, but the near slave labor endured in the coal mines is very real.

Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks (2003) – You’d better get comfortable, as this Chinese documentary is over nine hours long. Divided into three parts, it shows the slow decline of an industrial district in the Chinese city of Shenyang. Those with patience will be rewarded, however, as the film takes a gripping look at the misery and decay suffered by both the city and its residents.

Summer Palace (2006) – Filled with political statements and explicit sex scenes, this tale of two students falling in love during the Tiananmen Square protests was banned in China after being shown in competition at Cannes without permission. As a result, director Lou Ye and his producer were banned from making any films in China for five years.

Check Netflix for the availability of these good Chinese movies on DVD and Blu-ray. We do receive a small commission for sending you there, but it doesn’t add to your cost. It does, however, help us to stay in business and keep bringing you quality movie recommendations.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 17th, 2010 at 6:44 pm and is filed under Good Movies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

8 Responses to “Good Chinese Movies for Foreign Film Fans”

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April 30, 2010


I’m just wondering, I’m looking for this Chinese comedy movie back in the 90’s where one of the main character was bowling and was singing the “bowling” song. i have no clue what the title of the movie but what i remember was that it was a funny movie. there were some famous Chinese celebrity in this movie too!! please reply to back to me as soon as possible. 😉 thank you.

December 6, 2010

Hei Long

“It won the Golden Montgolfiere at the Nantes Three Continents Festival, so you know it’s got to be good.”

Of course it must!:)


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