Skip to content

10 Best Chinese Movies – 2012 Roundup One

20 December 2012 | Features, Film Lists | by David Zou

From today I will embark upon my 2012 roundup series that will include all the terrific films I have watched in the calender year of 2012. Hopefully these roundup lists would be useful for you as good recommendations.

Let’s begin with the best Chinese movies I saw this year. After watching 20-plus Chinese movies within in the year, I have developed an ambivalent feeling towards Chinese cinema: a mixture of pride and disappointment. I am proud because there are numerous directorial masterpieces in mainland China, Taiwan and Hongkong, which could surely create a sensation if restored and distributed. I’m disappointed because the current Chinese cinema is trapped in a stagnant stage and will never return to its Golden Era.

Anyway,  you should get yourself a chance to watch the 10 Chinese movies below, if not, at least remember their names.

10. Blind Shaft  dir.  Li Yang

blindshaft

Adapted from a national-award-winning novel Shen Mu by Liu Qingbang, Blind Shaft is an uncompromising satire that can easily pierce your heart. Director Li Yang was banned by the Chinese government for this film and his career was almost ruined because of this. (Read my full reviews)

 

9. Mystery  dir. Lou Ye

Mystery Lou Ye

As one of my most anticipated movies this year, Lou Ye’s Mystery didn’t disappoint me. As a matter of fact, it is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen in cinema,  After watching, I discussed marriage and extra-marital relationship with my wife.Such profound and  thought-provoking movie is a rarity in Chinese cinema now. (Read my full reviews)

 

8. Running Out of Time  dir. Johnny To

running-1

As a very entertaining flick from top-notch Hong Kong crime genre filmmaker Johnnie To and his Milky Way Image.  Running Out of Time is the most accessible Chinese-language film I can think of, and if you are a crime genre lover, I believe you will love it as I do. (Read my full reviews)

 

7. A Simple Life  dir. Ann Hui

a simple life pic

As a Chinese, I seldom expect any upcoming Chinese films in theater since they always disappoint me, but this HK made film was an exception. The leading actress won Best Actress Award in the 68th Venice International Film Festival, and this film was a bigger winner in 2011 Golden Horse Film Festival, winning 3 major awards including Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress. (Read my full reviews)

 

6. Goodbye, Dragon Inn  dir. Tsai Ming-liang

GoodbyeDragonInn2

The title suggests Tsai’s affection for this old film and its era. During the 1980′s and 1990′s, the film was played repeatedly in a big theater but attracted very few audiences, which seems sarcastic considering the movie’s tremendous influence during the 1960′s.  (Read my full reviews)

 

5. The World  dir. Jia Zhangke

the-world

Jia’s fourth feature film laments the gap between dreams and reality, globalization prosperity and individual dilemma in current Chinese society. All the fake scenery in Beijing World Park has been exaggerated only to testify that the Chinese economic boom in recent years is just beautiful on the surface.

 

4. The Terrorizers  dir. Edward Yang

the terrorizers photo

Yang only shot seven feature films and a short during his career. Because of distribution problem, his films are not easily accessible to Western audience. His most popular film in the West is his last work Yiyi, followed by his incredible epic A Brighter Summer Day, which is considered by many critics as his best film. However, the first film that won him world-wide acclaim is  The Terrorizers.  (Read my full reviews)

 

3. The Love Eterne  dir. Li Han Hsiang

the love eterne

Ranked as No.1 in movieview(the No.1 movie magazine in China)’s 100 Years of Hongkong Cinema, The Love Eterne is legendary in terms of its achievements and importance in Hongkong cinema history. If you’d like to see something quintessential Chinese, this one should be your first choice. (Read my full reviews)

 

2. Three Times  dir. Hou Hsiao-Hsien

three times

Three Times is an absolute beauty. The two theme songs “Smoke in your eyes”and “Rain and tears” are equally impressive by adding a different flavor to Hou’s first nostalgic story in the film. The second part is sensational in terms of its silence film form and visually- exuberant performance. The third part on modern love is a weaker one as compared with the previous two. Nevertheless, if the audiences really understand history and can perceive that all three love stories are metaphors of the relationship between Taiwan and Mainland, they will be astounded by the movie’s greatness.

 

1. Dragon Gate Inn  dir. King Hu

dragon gate inn

An instant favorite Chinese film. King Hu shot the wuxia genre film like no others before him. Chinese history, art, landscape, philosophy perfectly blend in this highly-entertaining box-office-hit martial art film. As one of the most influential film in Chinese cinema history, it had huge impact on many famous following Chinese wuxia films like Ang Lee’s Oscar-winning Crouch Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Raymond Lee’s commercially successful New Dragon Gate Inn and Zhang Yimou’s gorgeous looking House of Flying Daggers.

 

It’s Your Turn

Which Chinese movies above you’d like to give a try?

 

Read more Chinese movie posts on Taste of Cinema

 

 

 


SHARE THIS STORY
   

Other Brilliant Movie Posts On The Web

   

Like Us on Facebook!

  • http://thevoid99.blogspot.com Steven Flores

    The ones I want to see are The Terrorizers and Three Times.

    • http://www.tasteofcinema.com/ David Zou

      Good choices, Yang and Hou films are good start point to get yourself more familiar with Chinese cinema.

  • http://www.whitecitycinema.com michaelgsmith

    The only movies on the above list I haven’t seen are numbers 9 and 10 and I will try to rectify that.
    Have you seen Jiang Wen’s LET THE BULLETS FLY? A very good Chicago-based critic, Kevin B. Lee, listed it as one of his favorites of 2012. You can check out his video essay here: http://www.fandor.com/blog/video-twelve-for-2012-the-best-films-of-the-year

    • http://www.tasteofcinema.com/ David Zou

      That’s an interesting list, I really thought Sliver Linings Book is another typical American comedy, it looks I was wrong, and This Is Not a Film, I know you have posted about it, definitely will check it out.

      Yes, I have seen LET THE BULLET FLY in cinema last year, Billy Wilder meets Kurosawa is very appropriate sumup, but my favorite Jiang Wen remains THE DEVIL ON THE DOORSTEP.

      BTW, what do you think of Hong Sang-soo’s films? I have heard good things about them, but haven’t tries anything yet.

  • http://www.whitecitycinema.com michaelgsmith

    I love Hong Sang-soo. He’s the Korean Eric Rohmer. I just saw his film THE DAY HE ARRIVES and thought it was great. My favorites are probably VIRGIN STRIPPED BARE BY HER BACHELORS and WOMAN ON THE BEACH but they’re all pretty similar.

  • Pingback: 10 Best Asian Movies – 2012 Roundup Two | Taste of Cinema