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My foray into Chinese cinema

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cinewest
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My foray into Chinese cinema

#1

Post by cinewest » January 30th, 2019, 2:50 am

As I am living in China right now (and as I have more time than usual at the moment), and in honor of the coming Spring Festival, I have been delving into some of the available Chinese cinema ALL on Amazon Prime.

Here's what I have seen so far (I will be adding to the list for as long as I am able to):

Spring In A Small Town (Mu Fei, 1948, China)- The most famous mainland classic was a bit of a disappointment to me, not only because of the low quality transfer, but because it lacked the sophistication (in every area) I was expecting from an all time classic. While it may be an important marker in Chinese cinema, and even World Cinema as a whole, I cannot really give it more than a 6, especially when I compare it to the films of Ozu (similar in style) which were being made around the same time.

Postmen in the Mountains (Jianqui Huo, 1999)- Further into rural China, this film captures the humanity, harshness, and beauty of life form a previous, simpler time. 7

Dust In The Wind- Hsiao-Hsien, Hou, Taiwan, 1986)- A switch here to small town Taiwan, and coming of age in the 1970's. Early Hou, but already with a fairly refined style. 7.5

11 Flowers (Xiaoshuai, Wang, China, 2011)- Nice discovery. Set in the final days of the Cultural Revolution (also in rural, factory centered China), this film captures an eventful year in the life of an 11 year old boy. Solid 8 by the director of Beijing Bicycle. Very worthwhile, and well done. Deserves far more than 48 watches, and its available on amazon prime.

Angels Wear White (Vivian Qu, China, 2017)- The best of my current survey of Chinese cinema, and another great discovery on amazon prime, not only because it was made by a new outstanding woman filmmaker (Vivian Qu), but because it also has a couple of amazing young actresses. 8+, and now with 36 checks.

The Terrorizers (Edward Yang, Taiwan, 1986)- One of the films that really put modern Taiwanese cinema on the map, and probably the most accomplished of my survey, so far (they seem to keep getting better). Essential cinema. A 9 with a whopping 444 checks.

Let The Wind Carry Me (Taiwan, 2009)- a very worthwhile documentary about one of my favorite cinematographers, Mark Ping-Bing Lee. 7. Twelve checks for a film about one of the world's greatest living cinematographers.

Stolen Life (Shaohong Li, China, 2005)- Poignant tale of a young woman whose prospects and potential are scuttled by early pregnancy. Very well done. Deserves a lot more than 20 checks. A solid 7+, and good enough to make my list of favorite Chinese films.

Ju Dou (Zhang Yimou, China, 1990)- Rematch. Film Noir, Rural Chinese style, and still one of my favorites by Zhang Yimou. Gorgeous to look at. 8.5+

Rouge (Stanley Kwan, Hong Kong, 1987)- Though this one is on 5 lists, it was probably the least interesting of the films I have mentioned above. I'd call it a ghost story with potential that opts for more mainstream pathways despite some lovely moments that hearken back to a past life/romance. Doesn't come close to a film like Mizoguchi's Ugetsu. 6

A Time To Love and a Time to Die (Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Taiwan, 1985)- Early Hou, inspired by his childhood, family, and where he grew up. Good but not as expressive or artistic as his films soon became. A solid 7 for good but not essential.
Last edited by cinewest on February 3rd, 2019, 12:33 am, edited 5 times in total.

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#2

Post by maxwelldeux » January 30th, 2019, 9:10 am

This is fantastic, and thanks for putting it together. I've seen none of them, but I've been eyeballing Prime movies eligible for the China/HK/Taiwan challenge next month, and this will be a great starting point.

Request: Could you include ICM links along with the films? It'd be super helpful.

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#3

Post by fori » January 30th, 2019, 9:34 am

What province are you in? Also very cool idea.

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#4

Post by Onderhond » January 30th, 2019, 9:37 am

Is this American Prime? I with Amazon Prime was just half as interesting where I live.

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#5

Post by cinewest » January 30th, 2019, 3:30 pm

Happy to see some folks here are interested in Chinese cinema, and the cool thing is that all of these films (and more) are available on Amazon Prime (the American version, at least).

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#6

Post by Onderhond » January 30th, 2019, 3:53 pm

cinewest wrote:
January 30th, 2019, 3:30 pm
and the cool thing is that all of these films (and more) are available on Amazon Prime (the American version, at least).
Sucks then that this is an international forum :down: and that the movie industry keeps on abusing the distribution right system :down:

If you need some (proper and arthouse-friendly) recommends (not sure about availability on streaming services though):
- Lang zai ji /The Warrior and the Wolf
- Wu Qingyuan / The Go Master
- Chang jiang tu / Crosscurrent
- Mi guo / Lost Indulgence
- Ci chu yu bi chu / Here, Then
- Tai yang zhao chang sheng qi / The Sun Also Rises
- Sheng huo xiu / Life Show

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#7

Post by cinewest » January 30th, 2019, 4:01 pm

Onderhond wrote:
January 30th, 2019, 3:53 pm
cinewest wrote:
January 30th, 2019, 3:30 pm
and the cool thing is that all of these films (and more) are available on Amazon Prime (the American version, at least).
Sucks then that this is an international forum :down: and that the movie industry keeps on abusing the distribution right system :down:

If you need some (proper and arthouse-friendly) recommends (not sure about availability on streaming services though):
- Lang zai ji /The Warrior and the Wolf
- Wu Qingyuan / The Go Master
- Chang jiang tu / Crosscurrent
- Mi guo / Lost Indulgence
- Ci chu yu bi chu / Here, Then
- Tai yang zhao chang sheng qi / The Sun Also Rises
- Sheng huo xiu / Life Show
Thanks Onderhond. I made note of some of these from your thread on popular Chinese cinema, recently.

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#8

Post by Onderhond » January 30th, 2019, 4:21 pm

Yeah, I admit it was just a quick copy/paste of the more arthouse-leaning titles :D

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#9

Post by peeptoad » January 30th, 2019, 4:30 pm

Thanks again for the info on the Prime films... I started watching the Sixth Generation back in the mid-90s and found a few films/directors that I really liked, so I'm looking forward to maybe re-igniting that at some point. Having easy access to some of these will make that endeavor easier.

Also, for anyone who likes the Shaw Bros, there are a lot of their flicks on Prime right now as well:
Mighty Peking Man, Black Magic, Human Lanterns, 36 Chamber of Shaolin, Oily Maniac, etc etc.... lots of stuff on there right now.

:cheers:

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#10

Post by OldAle1 » January 30th, 2019, 4:40 pm

peeptoad wrote:
January 30th, 2019, 4:30 pm


Also, for anyone who likes the Shaw Bros, there are a lot of their flicks on Prime right now as well:
Mighty Peking Man, Black Magic, Human Lanterns, 36 Chamber of Shaolin, Oily Maniac, etc etc.... lots of stuff on there right now.

:cheers:
One note on that - they are pretty much all dubbed, unless I'm remembering wrong from the last time I looked at the list several months ago.

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#11

Post by Onderhond » January 30th, 2019, 5:02 pm

Since we're talking Greater China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan), I'll see if I can add a few more recommends. The list I did focused on Mainland China only. I understand why they would be grouped together, but cinema differs quite a bit between these three regions.

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#12

Post by peeptoad » January 30th, 2019, 5:07 pm

OldAle1 wrote:
January 30th, 2019, 4:40 pm
peeptoad wrote:
January 30th, 2019, 4:30 pm


Also, for anyone who likes the Shaw Bros, there are a lot of their flicks on Prime right now as well:
Mighty Peking Man, Black Magic, Human Lanterns, 36 Chamber of Shaolin, Oily Maniac, etc etc.... lots of stuff on there right now.

:cheers:
One note on that - they are pretty much all dubbed, unless I'm remembering wrong from the last time I looked at the list several months ago.
Well, bummer on the dubbing, but they're free... eh.

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#13

Post by Onderhond » January 30th, 2019, 5:10 pm

Don't watched dubbed films :guns:

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#14

Post by RogerTheMovieManiac88 » January 30th, 2019, 5:49 pm

Nice to see that you liked 'Angels Wear White', cinewest. It's an intriguing and compelling film for sure with impressively nuanced performances. The quietly harrowing atmosphere of uncertainty is fascinating and disconcerting. A very fine film indeed!

Hope your quest continues to throw up more of its ilk!
That's all, folks!

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#15

Post by Onderhond » January 30th, 2019, 7:13 pm

Some HK/Taiwan recommends:

- Starry Starry Night [Xing Kong]
- Blowfish [Hetun]
- Beautiful Crazy [Luan Qing Chun]
- The Fourth Portrait [Di Si Zhang Hua]
- Isabella [Yi Sa Bui Lai]
- Zinnia Flower [Bai Ri Gaobie]
- Port of Call [Daap Hyut Cam Mui]
- Winds of September [Jiu Jiang Feng]

Left off the obvious Tsai/Hou/Yang films.

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#16

Post by cinewest » February 1st, 2019, 5:52 pm

Two others worth noting that I saw last year are I Am Not Madame Bovary, and The Summer is Gone (both 2016 releases)

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