5 Chinese Films You Need to See

Watching Chinese television shows and films are a great way to learn a bit of Chinese and have a look into Chinese Culture. However, other than the practical aspect, Hollywood often overshadows great films that are made all over the world and China is no exception. So without further ado, here are 5 great Chinese films you need to see!

#1 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon


Source: PrettyFamous

Even if you have never seen this movie you probably heard of a reference to it. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon takes place during the Qing dynasty and you follow the story of Li Mu Bai played by the renowned actor Chow Yun-fat and Yu Shu Lien played by Michelle Yeoh through their adventure to reclaim Mu Bai’s sword. A classic Chinese Kung fu movie where warriors float through the air, battle in tree tops and skim the waters. This year on Netflix you can watch Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2 in English that is a sequel to the original.

#2 Farewell My Concubine


Source: IMDB

Farewell My Concubine follow the story of 2 men who are apprentices in a Beijing opera troupe and how a woman came between their friendship over 50 years. This film is one of the best works by the Fifth Generation movement which brought Chinese film directors to the world’s attention. To this day it is the only Chinese language film to win the Cannes Palme d’Or.

#3 Raise the Red Lantern


Source: Wikipedia

Another one of the most notable films by the fifth generation movement. Raise the Red Lantern is about a woman in the 1920s who joins the concubines of a wealthy man, and how she overcomes the tension and differences in that household. This film gives a peak of what life was like in that era and the Chinese culture.

#4 Yellow Earth


Source: FilmStory

If you’re looking for a film that can introduce you to some Chinese history, you should watch Yellow Earth. The film is set in 1939, where the Communist Party of China and the Kuomintang have stopped fighting against each other, but instead working together to stop the Japanese from invading. However the provinces are still divided between the 2 groups. Yellow Earth follows a communist soldier who is sent to the countryside to collect folk songs for propaganda, but he discovers they don’t exist and instead finds songs of hardship.

#5 Shower


Source: Wikipedia

To end this list off in a good note, here is a great Chinese comedy/drama movie. Shower was shown at numerous film festivals and won numerous awards worldwide. A great introduction to modern city life in China. This film follows the life of a Shenzhen businessman who goes back home to Beijing to his family run bathhouse, and their father-son relationship.

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Monica Guan

Monica is a Canadian-Chinese travel blogger and marketer that has spent time in beijing, nanjing, guangzhou, shenzhen, hangzhou,and xitang, shanghai. When she isn't watching YouTube videos, you can find her writing or creating videos.
Monica Guan