Tag Archives: Mandarin
Xiao cheng zhi chun / Spring in a Small Town (1948) Mu Fei, Chaoming Cui, Wei Li, Yu Shi, Drama, Romance
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.
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.
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.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon / Wo hu cang long (2000) Ang Lee, Yun-Fat Chow, Michelle Yeoh, Ziyi Zhang, Action, Drama, Romance
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon is a timeless story that takes place in QING China when miracles were credible and spirits and gods were present in man’s world. It is not unbelievable that zen warriors float through the air, skim the water and battle in trees and on rooftops. Pain, revenge and duty are the stuff that bind us in this world and are the main plot line of the movie, but in the afterlife love and faith linger on.
Guang yin de gu shi / In Our Time (1982) Yi Chang, I-Chen Ko, Te-chen Tao, Edward Yang, Emily Y. Chang, Sylvia Chang, Chi Chen, Sheng-wen Lan, Drama
Xi yan / Garcon d’honneur / The Wedding Banquet (1993) Ang Lee, Winston Chao, May Chin, Ya-Lei Kuei, Comedy, Drama, Romance
A gay New Yorker stages a marriage of convenience with a young woman to satisfy his traditional Taiwanese family, but the wedding becomes a major inconvenience when his parents fly in for the ceremony…
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.
Goodbye, South, Goodbye / Nan guo zai jian, nan guo (1996) Hsiao-Hsien Hou, Hsiang Hsi, Kuei-Ying Hsu, Annie Shizuka Inoh, Crime, Drama
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.