Those Summer Nights—Guangzhou's Best Places to See Foreign Films

Those Summer Nights—Guangzhou's Best Places to See Foreign Films
By Beth Green ,

Wanting to go out for a movie but dreading reading all those subtitles? Tired of watching DVDs of your favourite Western movies at home? Don't worry, catching a non-Chinese film in Guangzhou is easy—although the English-language film selection is admittedly limited. Guangzhou's cinemas are clean, blessed with icy, refreshing air conditioning, and usually located in easy-to-get-to shopping malls where you can also catch a bite to eat on the way in or out of the show.

Because China limits the number of foreign language films to around 20 per year there is definitely not as many choices as you would be used to back home, but in some ways that makes it easier. When selecting, foreign viewers should be sure to check which language the film is in before buying the ticket. Most foreign films are in English, but sometimes films from non-English speaking countries are available. Of course, Chinese films in Guangzhou will be in Mandarin (guo yu 国语) or Cantonese (yue yu 粤语). Also, if you'd like to know if a Chinese movie is showing with English subtitles, you can ask the staff if it has yingyu zimu英语字幕.

Most cinemas have their film schedule available on line, however if you're waiting desperately for a particular movie to be shown, don't expect to see it at the same time it debuts in Europe or the USA. International release dates are often weeks after—or sometimes before—the domestic red carpet date.

Although China does not have as many cinemas as say the United States, Guangzhou expats can count themselves lucky that the city offers over a dozen easily accessible cinemas. Here are some of the best to catch a foreign film (for venue info please look below).

For convenience and location the Fei Yang Cinemas 广场电影城 in both the Tee Mall and the Grandview Mall probably beat out the rest of the city. Since these are both big multiplexes located in famous well-stocked shopping malls in Guangzhou's centre, it means catching a film at one of these cinemas combines well with an afternoon of window shopping or a great dinner out in one of the many restaurants nearby. 

However, for the biggest bang for your cinematic buck, the Guangzhou Wanda Cinemas IMAX at the Wanda Plaza in Baiyun District is your best bet. Located in a shiny, spacious Western-style mall, this IMAX and regular cinema boasts the latest in available Western films. They've even got IMAX in 3D. In addition the mall's third floor hosts a selection of snazzy eateries. Now that's a night out!

In Tianhe district, near the Gongyuanqian Metro station, the Mayflower Mall has a nice six-screen cinema and a DVD store next to it in case you decide you'd rather watch at home after all. Farther east, Gangding has the Galaxy Cinema in Tianyu Plaza with discounts on Wednesdays for midweek moviegoers. 

South of the river are several more cinemas, including Haizhu district's well-reviewed Ultimate Movie Experience (UME) Cineplex.

People interested in less mainstream options beyond foreign blockbusters should check with some of the embassy cultural sections in Guangzhou or ask to be put on their events emailing lists. Many embassies have periodic film festivals or movie screenings, for example the Kingold Australian Film Festival in January 2010 and the US Consulates’ occasional documentary screenings. Guangzhou also hosts its own documentary film festival in the fall.

Film viewing options

1) Fei Yang Cinemas
Add: 4th Floor of Tee Mall / 7th Floor of Grandview Mall
Tel: 020 85596002 Tee Mall/020 85590911 Grandview Mall
Opening hours: 10:00-02:00
Ticket Prices: 80 to 100 RMB, discounts available before noon and after 10 p.m.
Getting there: Metro Lines 1 and 3 Tiyu Xi Lu Station Exit C (Tee Mall)/ Metro Line 1 Tianhe Sports Center (Grandview Mall)

2) Guangzhou Wanda Cinemas IMAX 广州万达电影城 View In Map
Add: 3rd Floor, Wanda Plaza, 503 Yun Cheng East Road, Bai Yun District.
Tel: 36689666, 36689777
Opening hours: 10:00 to last showing
Ticket Prices: 80 RMB and up
Website:  Automatically directs to Beijing. Select Guangzhou from the menu at the top of the page.
Getting there: Metro Line 2 Feixiang Park Station, Exit C

3) Mayflower Mall Cinema 五月花商业广场电影城 View In Map
Add: 6th Floor of Mayflower Plaza, 68 Zhong Shan 5 Road
地址: 广州市中山五路68号五月花商业广场6楼
Tel: 020 83337366, 020 83330836
Ticket Prices: 80 RMB and up
Getting there: Metro Line 1, Gongyuanquan Station, Exit C then follow the underground shopping street to doors 4 or 5.

4) Galaxy Cinema 天河电影城 View In Map
Add: 5th Floor (Ticket office) of Tianyu Plaza, 623 Tianhe Road.
地址: 广州市天河区天河路621-625号天娱广场西塔4-7楼
Tel: 020 87576722 020  87576733
Opening hours: 10:00 to last showing
Ticket Prices: 40-120 RMB
Getting there: Metro Line 3 Gangding Station, Exit A

5) Ultimate Move Experience (UME) CineplexView In Map
Add: 6th Floor, New 1st City, Grandbuy Mall, 498 Baogang Dadao, Haizhu District, Guangzhou
地址: 广州市海珠区宝岗大道498号广百新一城6楼
Tel: 020 8425 7979
Opening hours:
Ticket prices:

6) Non-Mainstream Options:

Australian Consulate-General Guangzhou
Events webpage:

British Council China
Website:  (Includes information about events all over China.)

Guangzhou Documentary Film Festival

Indian Consulate-General Guangzhou

U.S. Consulate Guangzhou
Website:  Look under News&Events, Event Schedule.

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Keywords: foreign films Guangzhou foreign movies Guangzhou best cinema Guangzhou


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