Tag Archives: Mandarin

Huang tu di / Yellow Earth (1984) Kaige Chen, Xueqi Wang, Bai Xue, Quiang Liu, Drama, Music

Huang tu di AKA Yellow Earth (1984)
‘Yellow Earth’ focuses on the story of a communist soldier who is sent to the countryside to collect folk songs for the Communist Revolution. There he stays with a peasant family and learns that the happy songs he was sent to collect do not exist; the songs he finds are about hardship and suffering. He returns to the army, but promises to come back for the young girl, Cuiqiao, who has been spell-bound by his talk of the freedom women have under communist rule and who wants to join the Communist Army.

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Farewell My Concubine (1993) Kaige Chen, Leslie Cheung, Fengyi Zhang, Li Gong, Drama, Romance, Music

Farewell My Concubine (1993)
In 1924, young Cheng Dieyi (Leslie Cheung) begins training at the Beijing Opera House at the same time as Duan Xiaolou (Fengyi Zhang). Cheng specializes in playing female parts, often against Duan’s commanding male leads. While pretending to be in love with Duan onstage, Cheng begins to develop actual romantic feelings for his co-star, which are not reciprocated. Over the next 50 years, the two men maintain a complicated friendship as China undergoes turbulent changes.

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Du bei dao / The One-Armed Swordsman (1967) Cheh Chang, Yu Wang, Chiao Chiao, Chung-Hsin Huang, Action, Drama

The One-Armed Swordsman (1967)
An evil gang attacks the Chi school of Golden Sword Kung Fu. One student sacrifices his life to save his teacher and his school, his dying wish is that his son be taken in as a student. Young Fang Kang grows up in the school and treasures his father’s broken sword and the memory of his father’s sacrifice. The other students (including the teacher’s daughter) resent him and try to drive him away. The teacher’s daughter challenges him to a fight and when he refuses she becomes enraged and recklessly chops off his arm! He retreats, broken and bloody, and is found by a young poor girl living alone who nurses him back to health. Meanwhile, the evil gang who originally attacked the Golden Sword school develops a weapon that renders the Golden Sword useless and starts killing off all of the schools students. Fang Kang eventually recovers with the girl’s help but must now face a life with only one arm. Will he be able to recover and live to defend the school as his father did?

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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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