If you’re learning how to speak Chinese, a great way to practice your listening and reading skills is to watch Chinese movies.
Now, admittedly, if you’ve watched a Chinese film before, you probably already know that the quality generally doesn’t compare to your average Hollywood film, and it’s highly doubtful that any of the movies listed below will be up for best foreign film at next year’s Oscars, but that doesn’t mean they still can’t be a good time!
Besides, it never hurts to be in the know. Just knowing some of the big upcoming films can make for a great conversation starter when chatting up a local.
Here are the Chinese films to keep an eye out for in 2016.
1) The Three-Body Problem <<三体>>
Chinese sci-fi phenomenon adapted to the silver screen
For fans of: Prometheus, District 9, Contact
Starring: Feng Shaofeng, Zhang Jinhchu, Tiffany Tang, David E Woodley
Director: Panpan Zhang
Release date: Fall 2016
The Three-Body Problem is an upcoming science-fiction epic based on the popular novel of the same name by Cixin Liu, the most prolific science-fiction author in China. The English translation of The Three-Body Problem ended up winning the 2015 Hugo Award for Best Novel and was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 2014.
Set during both the Cultural Revolution and present day, The Three-Body Problem is an Arthur C. Clarke inspired story of an approaching alien invasion and a human race that begins to divide into two camps, one that plans to defend the Earth, and the other that plans to help the alien invaders take over a world they view as corrupt, thus the ‘three bodies’.
Liu is serving as a producer on the film, hopefully to make sure it stays true to its source material.
2) Finding Mr. Right 2 <<北京遇上西雅图2>>
The sequel to the 2013 hit rom-com.
For fans of: Young Adult, Silver Linings Playbook, Sleepless in Seattle
Cast: Tang Wei, Wu Xiubo, Paul Chu, Kara Hui
Director: Xue Xioalu
Release date: April 29, 2016
Tang Wei and Wu Xiubo will be returning in the roles of Jiajia and Frank in Finding Mr. Right 2. Writer/director Xue Xiaolu has apparently been mulling over where to take these characters over the past couple years, and he plans to stay faithful to the characters in the original film.
The first film was about a spoiled materialistic woman named Jiajia (played by actress Tang Wei) who goes to Seattle to secretly give birth to her already married boyfriend’s child. During her stay she (*spoiler*) ends up falling for her driver, Frank, a down on his luck single father (played by actor Wu Xiubo). The sequel is set to take place in Macau.
If you plan to see the film, make sure to watch the first installment beforehand (free on Youku.com), or at least read the plot on wikipedia. Though the first movie did get pretty heavy at times, Finding Mr. Right 2 should make for a safe date flick.
3) L.O.R.D (Legend of Ravaging Dynasties) 《爵迹》
“Let them fight”
For fans of: The Hobbit, Snow White & The Huntsman
Cast: Fan Bingbing, Kris Wu, Xuedong Chen, William Chan
Director: Guo Jingming
Release date: December 2, 2016
L.O.R.D (or Legend of Ravaging Dynasties) is an upcoming fantasy film about a magical world split into four warring dynasties, Fire, Water, Earth, and Air. The movie is based on Director Guo Jingming’s popular novel of the same name and stars Fan Bingbing in the lead role.
L.O.R.D is actually breaking new ground in Chinese cinema as it’s the first Chinese film to use the same type of advanced 3D motion capture technology that Hollywood films like Avatar and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes use to bring cg characters to life. Let’s just hope the movie lives up to the potential of the technology.
4) The Ferryman <<酒国英雄之摆渡人>>
Pretty people falling in love and cheating on one another
For fans of: Closer, Before Sunset
Cast: Angelababy, Tony Leung, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Tang Wei (rumored)
Director: Zhang Jiajia
Release date: Late 2016
The Ferryman will tell the story of a young woman Ayu (played by actress Angelababy) who falls in love with a painter, Ma Li (played by actor Tony Leung) whose wife is unfaithful to him.
Directed by Zhang Jiajia, and based on his original short story, The Ferryman is a story of unrequited love and independence, and the movie is said to closely follow the original short story.
5) The Great Wall <<长城>>
East meets West in this alternate history monster movie
For fans of: Edge of Tomorrow, The Last Samurai, Pride & Prejudice & Zombies
Cast: Matt Damon, Andy Lau, Willem Dafoe, Zhang Hanyu, Pedro Pascal
Director: Zhang Yimou
Release date: December 2016
While at first glance this might sound like your standard historical drama, The Great Wall actually takes place in an alternate Northern Song Dynasty era China (around 1000 AD) where the Great Wall not only keeps out the Mongolian armies, but monsters as well.
Matt Damon stars as a European mercenary named William who initially comes to China to steal a gunpowder recipe, but when things start to get weird, William considers sticking around to help defend the people.
The Great Wall is directed by the renowned Zhang Yimou, the man behind Hero, House of Flying Daggers, and The Flowers of War. Should be fun.
So those are our picks, but what about yours? What are the Chinese films you are looking forward to this year? Let us know in the comments below.
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What I am nervous about is they will play well in China, and bomb outside due to the lack of writing and story structure that the rest of the world requires in its movies. Only a precious few movies made here do well outside the borders. And it's usually the big budget movies that bomb out the worst. "Lost in Thailand" was made on a shoestring, did well here and didn't do well pretty much anywhere else. Non-chinese critics tend to pan Chinese movies. The Chinese film industry does need some new blood in it.
Mar 21, 2016 20:14 Report Abuse
The plots of some seem ok. Better than the usual identical love story. It looks like improvement is coming to the Chinese screens. If you are wanting to watch films to practice your Chinese I recommend the following; watch your favourite filns dubbed in Chinese. Just go to Baidu and type "(name of film) 国语(guo yu)". If that doesn't come up with anything then type the film name in English then copy and paste the Chinese name from the results.
Mar 21, 2016 08:29 Report Abuse