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Chinese Cinema – What you should be watching

When someone mentions Chinese Cinema, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

Raw special effects, ridiculously dramatic scenes, flying swordsmen fighting in fancy and flashy outfits?

In short, perhaps just the kind of cinema that you can enjoy for an hour or more, comfortably seated in one of those noisy Chinese movie theaters.

Yet, the Chinese cinematic art abounds with masterpieces that have the power to change our perspective on lights, streets or social realities that exist (or existed) in this enormous and thrilling country that is China. These directors give us the opportunity to understand a different society through the eyes of interesting and complex characters.

Here’s a list of beautiful movies which will introduce you to the delicate art of portraying a harsh reality, and will make you love China even more!

Raise the Red Lanterns by Zhang YiMou, 1991

In the 1920s, Songlian, a 19 year-old girl is set to be the 4th wife (and the 3rd concubine) of a wealthy old  man. Trapped in his family mansion, she enters into the harsh and threatening world of power games and mischievous manipulation orchestrated by the other women of the household, who are all vying for attention and privileges of their husband.

Starring Gong Li, Ma Jingwu, He Saifei

Farewell my Concubine by Cheng KaiGe, 1993

The story of two performers in the Beijing Opera, stage brothers, and the woman who comes between them. At the same time, it attempts to do no less than squeeze the entire political history of China in the twentieth century into a three-hour tour de force.

Starring Leslie Cheung, Gong Li, Zhang Fengyi

In the Mood for Love by Wong Kar-Wai, 2000

Hong-Kong, 1962.

Mr Chow and Ms Chan are neighbors. After severals suspicious coincidences, they get to know each other and realize soon that their respective partners are having affairs. A difficult relationship develops, as they agree to keep their bond platonic so as not to commit similar wrongs.

Starring Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung

11 Flowers by Wang XiaoShuai, 2012

In 1974, in the midst of China’s Cultural Revolution, an 11 year-old boy looks up at the world of adults with little understanding of what is happening around him. A meeting with a murderer on the run pushes him into a world of secrets and lies, and strips him of his innocence.

Starring Liu Wenqing, Jing-chun Wang, Yan Ni

A Touch of Sin by Jia Zhangke, 2013

Dahai, a mineworker, decides to stand up against the corruption of his town leaders. San’er, a migrant worker, discovers the endless possibilities of his gun. Xiaoyu, a sauna hostess, reaches breaking point after being harassed by a wealthy client. Xiaohui works from one job to another, as time goes by, his working conditions gradually worsen.

Four characters, four different regions, four dramatic stories, one reflection on Chinese modern society.

Starring Jiang Wu, Lanshan Luo, Zhao Tao


Events in Qingdao, Qingdao Blogs, Qingdao Eating Out Guide, Qingdao Nightlife, Things To Do in Qingdao

Grand opening of China’s largest MixC in Qingdao

On April 30th 2015, China’s ninth and the largest MixC shopping mall had its grand opening in Qingdao. The first MixC opened in 2004 in Shenzhen, South China and since then they have opened other branches around China. MixC developer China Resources means “the great land of China, endowed with abundant natural resources”. China Resources Land Limited is one of the most powerful comprehensive real estate developers. The new shopping mall is located on Hong Kong Middle Road, one of the main routes in Qingdao.

InternChina – MixC

So what makes this particular subdivision of MixC in Qingdao so special? Apart from the fact it contains the world’s 3rd JOYPOLIS indoor theme park (other 2 in Tokyo and Dubai), yes a rollercoaster in the middle of a shopping mall! Inside the huge shopping mall, it also includes the most expensive cinema investment in China (with four kinds of special effects rooms including IMAX and 4D) and an Olympic standard size ice skating rink which is going to host the Skate Asia 2015. There are over 400 popular fashion stores, dining restaurants, cafes and entertainment/leisure facilities in this gigantic plaza.

InternChina - MixC
InternChina – MixC

Qingdao is located in East China, Shandong province. It is a small city compared with other Chinese cities. However, the establishment of MixC luxury shopping mall will hopefully help to develop the city even more than it already has in recent years. “We want to build a good public space for Qingdaonese, where people not only come to shop, but can also have a coffee, watch a movie, or even do nothing at all and just stroll around. It will be a good place for leisure and entertainment in Qingdao.”-Dave Chen (General Manager of Qingdao MixC). Ref: Redstar

For more blogs about whats happening in our cities click here.

Weekend Trips

Chinese Cinema Experience


Last weekend I decided to explore the city of Guangzhou. The city is beautiful and bustling with life – there was almost too much to do in the short amount of time I was there. I managed to visit two museums, two parks, the Canton Tower, and get some shopping done. The plan was to go clubbing in the evening, but after all that walking around and excitement, we decided it would be best to have a relaxing evening and just go to the cinema instead.

Les Misérables received quite a few Oscar nominations, so we decided that would be a safe bet to go see. What I thought would be a chill cinema trip turned into one of the biggest cultural experiences I’ve had since I arrived in China last month.

Let me start by saying, where I come from, having your phone on in the cinema is practically a sin. Just looking at your phone during the movie and casting that little light will get you mad haters in the cinema – so nobody dares do that. During this cinema experience however, the Chinese simply let their phone ring during the movie. Oh but it doesn’t end there, they also pick up the phone and start talking! I thought the first person that did it was either rude or just didn’t have a clue, but this happened six more times during the duration of the film. I was super confused.

Secondly, usually if anyone dares whisper to their friends during the film, you’ll hear people shush you from all corners of the cinema. However, even though Les Mis was not the most interesting or action packed movie, when the Chinese found it boring they would simply turn over and start talking to their friend, in full volume. Again, this happened multiple times throughout the movie. Towards the end when there was a lot of singing scenes (which really did drag on) it felt like the whole cinema just gave up on the movie and decided to make it a social event and went in full conversation.

At one point, the guy in front of me decided he’d had enough, so he whipped out his iPad and started playing on it. I have to be honest, I really didn’t find the movie very good (I prefer to the older rendition of Les Mis) but the Chinese were very verbal about their dislike for the film as well; as soon as it finished one woman yelled out “thank god!” – which I found pretty funny because I was thinking the same thing.

Apparently, this does not only happen in Chinese cinemas, but also the theatres. In olden days China, theatres used to be a social event in which you sat at a table with a group of friends; played cards, ate snacks, and occasionally brought your birds along with you (sometimes you can actually see the elder people walking around town with their caged birds). Knowing this now makes that episode make so much more sense, but at the time I had no idea what was going on!

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