Tag Archives: Mandarin

Xiao cheng zhi chun / Spring in a Small Town (1948) Mu Fei, Chaoming Cui, Wei Li, Yu Shi, Drama, Romance

Xiao cheng zhi chun AKA Spring in a Small Town (1948)
Following WWII and with China brought to it’s knees by the actions of the Japanese, prior to the rise of the Communists, led by Chairman Mao. This is the time during which Fei Mu’s film takes place. Wei Wei plays a woman who lives a lonely life, shackled by her care for her gentle, but ill husband (Shi Yu)- that is until her first love reappears into her life. This is Fei’s penultimate film as director, but is still enjoyed by many today as one of his best works. It has now been a firm favorite of many since it was restored in the 80’s by the China Film Archive and some rate it as one of the greatest Chinese movies in history.
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Zhantai / Platform (2000) Zhangke Jia, Hongwei Wang, Tao Zhao, Jing Dong Liang, Drama, History

Zhantai AKA Platform (2000)
Set in Fenyang, Shanxi Province, the film focuses on a group of amateur theatre troupe performers whose fate mirrors that of the general population in China as massive socio-economic changes sweep across the mainland. The film commences in 1979 with the troupe performing numbers idolizing Mao Zedong, ending in the ’80s when the shows reflect the strong Western influences pervading China, covering a decade in which China saw tremendous changes.
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Dong gong xi gong / East Palace, West Palace (1996) Yuan Zhang, Si Han, Jun Hu, Jing Ye, Drama

Dong gong xi gong AKA East Palace, West Palace (1996)
In China, homosexuality isn’t illegal, but homosexuals are routinely persecuted by police and arrested for “hooliganism”. The film focuses on a young gay writer A-Lan who, being attracted to a young policeman, manages to have himself interrogated for a whole night. His life-story which he tells during the interrogation reflects the general repression of the Chinese society. The policeman’s attitude shifts from the initial revulsion to fascination and, finally, to attraction.
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Fu cheng mi shi / Mystery (2012) Ye Lou, Lei Hao, Hao Qin, Xi Qi, Feng Zu, Thriller, Crime, Drama

Mystery (2012)
China’s enfant terrible Lou Ye returns after a five-year government ban on filmmaking with Mystery (2012), a rain-soaked melodrama set against the disconsolate mist of Wuhan’s impetuously erected industrial landscape. Opening with an explosive car crash, Ye’s latest is a tangled wreck of moral impasses and social inspection. Slicing through a sheet of unrelenting rainfall, two modified sports cars – driven by a group of insufferably affluent kids – race through the streets of the Hubei province capital. Their recklessness is dramatically halted, however, when they fail to notice a young woman who has wandered into the road.
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Goodbye, South, Goodbye / Nan guo zai jian, nan guo (1996) Hsiao-Hsien Hou, Hsiang Hsi, Kuei-Ying Hsu, Annie Shizuka Inoh, Crime, Drama

Goodbye, South, Goodbye (1996)
Produced by the Japanese Shochiku Company, this Taiwanese drama follows the lives of two generations of Taipei residents. Kao is a gangster, while divorcee/single mother/bar hostess Ying is his girl friend. Kao’s closest friend is rock singer Flathead and his slightly ditzy girl friend Pretzel. The troubles begin when Kao and his long-time cohort Hsi and the others set up a temporary gambling den in the highlands. As the day progresses, Pretzel gets so deeply into debt that she attempts suicide. Later Kao and His get some bad news about a shady business venture in Shanghai. To make some quick money, His and Kao devise a new scam to get the government to condemn so land so the two can quickly buy up all the pigs upon it and then sell them to their fellow gangsters, to the government and to the local farmers. The plan works until Flathead decides to flex his muscles and get some of his relatives, who live in the are, to pay their debts.
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A Brighter Summer Day / Gu ling jie shao nian sha ren shi jian (1991) Edward Yang, Chen Chang, Lisa Yang, Kuo-Chu Chang, Crime, Drama, Romance

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Among the most praised and sought-after titles in all contemporary film, this singular masterpiece of Taiwanese cinema, directed by Edward Yang, finally comes to home video in the United States. Set in the early sixties in Taiwan, A Brighter Summer Day is based on the true story of a crime that rocked the nation. A film of both sprawling scope and tender intimacy, this novelistic, patiently observed epic centers on the gradual, inexorable fall of a young teenager (Chen Chang, in his first role) from innocence to juvenile delinquency, and is set against a simmering backdrop of restless youth, rock and roll, and political turmoil.
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