Cinema from Mainland China
The following titles are all available to borrow from the Western Massachusetts Regional Library System (WMRLS). This list was adapted from a longer list maintained by the University of California - Berkeley's Media Resources Center
- 2046 (China/Hong Kong, 2004)
- Directed by Wong Kar Wai. A young man, who has tried to forget his lost love by meeting different young women, starts to write a novel about a young man falling in love with a machine-made woman on the 2046 train. 128 min.
- Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress: A Tailor Made Romance (Xiao cai feng) (France / China, 2002)
- Directed by Sijie Dai. At the height of Mao's Cultural Revolution, two teenage boys are among thousands exiled to the countryside for "re-education." The narrator and his best friend find themselves in a remote village where their only distractions are a violin and the beautiful daughter of the local tailor. But it is when they discover a hidden stash of Western classics in Chinese translation that their re-education takes its most surprising turn. 111 min.
- Beijing Bicycle (Shi qi sui de dan che) (China/Taiwan, 2001)
- Directed by Xiaoshuai Wang. Just as Guai, a bicycle messenger, makes his final payment for the silver mountain bike loaned by his company, he finds it stolen. After endless searching, Guai discovers his bicycle is now in the hands of Jian who bought the bicycle with stolen money. 113 min.
- Devils on the Doorstep (Gui zi lai le) (2000)
- Director: Jiang Wen. Banned in China, Jiang Wen's ravishingly photographed anti-war epic is set in 1945 in Japanese-occupied rural China where a peasant is forced to shelter two prisoners: one Japanese who wants to die, and his Chinese interpreter who wants to live. 139 min.
- Drifters (Er di) (2003)
- Directed by Wang Xiaoshuai. A Chinese man feels pulled between his responsibilities in America where he has fathered a son, and China where he has fallen in love with an opera singer. 120 min.
- Electric Shadows (Meng ying tong nian) (2004)
- Directed by Jiang Xiao. When a delivery man crashes into a girl, she asks him to feed the pets in her apartment, while she is in the hospital. There he finds her diary that exposes the story of a young girl's passion for the movies, which re-ignites his own longing for the days when the cinema enchanted China's masses. 95 min.
- The Emperor and the Assassin (Jing Ke ci Qin Wang) (France, Japan, China, 1999)
- Directed by Chen Kaige. In this visually stunning epic Ying Zheng, the King of Qin, has one driving ambition: to unify China's seven kingdoms into one magnificent empire. Impressed by her lover's convictions, Lady Zhao helps Ying Zheng create an assassination plot that would justify the conquest of Qin's most powerful enemy, but when the mission explodes into a brutal holocaust, she is forced to question her loyalty. 161 min.
- Farewell My Concubine (Ba Wang Bie Ji)(China, Hong Kong, 1993)
- Directed by Kaige Chen. Story that spans more than 50 years in the lives of two gay male actors at the Peking Opera and of the woman who comes between them. Also an absorbing drama of the period in Chinese history from the warlord era through the Cultural Revolution. Based on the novel by Li Pi-hua. 157 min.
- Ju Dou (China / Japan, 1991)
- Directed by Zhang Yi-Mou and Yang Feng-liang. The abused wife of a sadistic Chinese mill owner and his overworked nephew fall in love. Only murder could free the lovers from the mill owner's tyranny- or could it? 98 min.
- Kung Fu Hustle (China / Hong Kong, 2004)
- Directed by Stephen Chow. Sing, a hapless gangster, must overcome his inability to wield a knife and demonstrate his mettle in order to become a member of the notorious Axe Gang. He realizes he is the greatest kung fu master of them all, destined to protect the sacred streets. 99 min.
- The Last Emperor (China / UK / France / Italy, 1987)
- Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci. The epic adventure and true story of Pu Yi, the last Emperor of China, from his ascension to the throne as Emperor Xuan Tong, the 10th Emperor of the Qing Dynasty in 1908, to his rehabilitation and employment by the communists as a guide around his former palace in 1959. 86 min.
- Lust, Caution (Se, jie) (USA / China / Taiwan / Hong Kong, 2007)
- Directed by Ang Lee. Set Japanese-occupied Shanghai, a young woman finds herself swept up in a radical plot to assassinate a ruthless and secretive intelligence agent. As she immerses herself in her role as a cosmopolitan seductress, she becomes entangled in a dangerous game of emotional intrigue, love and betrayal. 159 min.
- Not One Less (Yi ge dou bu neng shao) (China, 1999)
- Directed by Zhang Yimou. A young woman is ordered to a remote Chinese village to be a substitute teacher. Barely older than her students, the shy girl is charged with keeping the class intact for one month or she won't be paid. When one of her students disappears into the city to find work, the stubborn teacher is determined to follow the boy and bring him back to school. Once in the city, her simple peasant pleas fall on deaf ears, and only when the local television sympathizes does her search bear fruit. 106 min.
- Princess Iron Fan (Tie shan gong zhu)(China, 1941)
- Directed by Wan Guchan and Wan Laiming. Produced by the Wan brothers in the midst of World War II, this is the first feature length animated film produced in China. The film is also one of the earliest works to extensively use the rotoscoping animation process. Following the Monkey King, his master and friends on their journey to the West reach Fire Mountain. They are unable to pass because of the fire but learn that a special iron fan can quench the flames. However, the fan belongs to Princess Iron Fan and she will not willingly lend it to them. 73 min.
- Raise the Red Lantern (Da Hong Deng Long Gao Gao Gua) (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, 1991)
- Directed by Zhang Yi-Mou. Set in 1920's China, 19-year-old Songlian has become Fourth Wife to the wealthy Chen. Yet she must share her husband with three existing wives. Each must wait until dusk for the arrival of a red lantern, which signifies with whom the master will sleep tonight. When Songlian discovers that the other wives cheat to win the red lantern, she decides to join the fight for Chen's attention. 125 min.
- Red Firecracker, Green Firecracker (Pao Da Shuang Deng) (China, Hong Kong, 1994)
- Directed by He Ping. Set against the close of the Ching Dynasty at the turn of the century, this tale of forbidden love and loyalty ignites the screen with passion. With no male heirs to run their fireworks factory, the Chai family's beautiful daughter has been groomed for the role of master. Renounced of her femininity, she is clothed like a man and forbidden to marry, a role which she dutifully accepts until a rebellious young artist becomes employed at the factory. He unleashes in her an unbridled passion that challenges her loyalty to her ancestral heritage and threatens the tradition that has bound her. 117 min.
- Rickshaw Boy (Luo tuo Xiangzi) (1982)
- Directed by Ling Zifeng. In the 1920s, a young hardworking peasant arrives in Beijing to become a rickshaw boy at a time when the city is torn by dueling warlords. The owner of the rickshaw company's daughter falls in love with the boy despite a ten year age difference and decides to marry him. Not long after their marriage she dies in labor and his world becomes empty and meaningless. He is a wreck of emotional suffering induced by an archaic society, at the mercy of his environment. 120 min.
- Shower (Xi zao) (China, 1999)
- Directed by Zhang Yang. Mistakenly believing his father has passed away, a bathhouse master's son returns home and soon discovers the magic of the family business and its importance to the community. 94 min.
- Stolen Life (Sheng si jie) (China, 2005)
- Directed by Shaohong Li. When the withdrawn and reclusive Yan'ni starts college she believes she is embarking on a new life away from her family, and she is, but not the new beginning she anticipates. Once at school, she immediately meets and falls in love with a man named Muyu, at truck driver, and her life takes a different path of misguided love. 94 min.
- The Story of Qui Ju (Qiu Ju da guan si)(China, Hong Kong, 1992)
- Directed by Yi-mou Zhang. A stoic peasant woman demands an apology when her husband is brutalized and humiliated by the village chief. But the chief is a proud man who refuses to apologize, sending her on a futile trek through the complicated Chinese court system. Based on the novel: "The Wan Family's Lawsuit / Chen Yuanbin. 100 min.
- Temptress Moon (Feng yue) (1996)
- Directed by Chen Kaige. This is a captivating story of a beautiful young woman, her seductive lover and their struggle for power, passion and revenge. Highly provocative and filled with sensual imagery, it was banned in the director's own country. 127 min.
- To Live (Huo zhe) (China, Hong Kong, 1994)
- Directed by Zhang Yimou, Bin Wang, Xleochun Zhang. In a smoky gambling den in 1940's China, a drunken young man runs through his family's fortune, losing their ancestral home and all their possessions. This staggering loss proves to be their salvation, and the first step in an odyssey of survival that will take them through war and revolution love and loss, tragedy ... and triumph. 132 min.
- Together (He ni zai yi qi) (China, South Korea, 2002)
- Directed by Chen Kaige. When a shy small-town boy heads to Beijing for violin lessons, he discovers a new world filled with first loves, lasting friendships ... and a secret that will change his life forever. 119 min.
- Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl (China, Hong Kong, USA, 1998)
- Directed by Joan Chen. Between 1967 and 1976, nearly 8 million Chinese youths were "sent down" for specialized training to the remotest corners of the country. The young and beautiful Xiu Xiu dreamt of becoming a horse trainer in Tibet, far away from her busy city home. Her training begins in the isolated plains of Tibet but slowly Xiu Xiu discovers that she is unlikely to ever see her home again without a wealthy sponsor. Her world becomes a horrifying cage, where "patrons" promise her escape in exchange for her sexual compromise. 100 min.
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