CHINESE CONTEMPORARY CINEMA

My favorite movies of Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
  1. Raise the Red Lantern (1992)
    Alongside Tarantino and Spielberg, Zhang Yimou is one of my favorite directors. The movie centers around a young girl who becomes one of four concubines of a rich man. Banned in China for a period of time, the film has been seen as a protest against authoritarianism. Beautiful colors and cinematography.
  2. Not One Less (1999)
    Also directed by Zhang Yimou (who btw choreographed and directed the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening). The movie centers on a 13 year old girl assigned to be a substitute teacher in the countryside for one month. When a student leaves school to search for work in the city, the teacher desperately searches for him. Each character has the same name and occupation as the unprofessional actor in real life and is filmed in a neorealist style.
  3. Please Vote for Me (2007)
    A documentary following the elections for a class leader in an adorable third grade class in urban middle class China. Democracy is a new concept to the students and this was the first election for a class monitor at a school in China. Banned in China.
  4. CJ7 (2008)
    A comedy centering around a poor single father working tirelessly to earn money to keep his son in a good private school. When the father can't afford to buy his son a new toy, he gives him a glowing ball found in a junkyard. Turns out the ball is a cute fluffy alien who becomes his best friend. Fun fact: the child who plays the boy in the movie is actually a girl.
  5. Lost in Beijing (2008)
    A young married woman works in a massage parlor for a sleazy owner and his infertile wife. One night, the owner finds the employee drunk and rapes her, while her window-washer husband helplessly watches. When she discovers she's pregnant, problems such as money and custody arise.
  6. Fist of Fury (1972)
    Bruce Lee is in it. And he kicks ass. A great tacky martial arts movie from the 70s.
  7. Hero (2002)
    The most well choreographed martial arts movie with the most opulent visuals I have ever watched.
  8. Blue Gate Crossing (2002)
    The only Chinese movie I've seen gay and lesbian themes. A girl wants her best friend to set her up with a cute boy. Little does she know that her best friend is secretly in love with her. A very sweet and innocent coming of age film.