Hi there. I'm planning to start watching Chinese movies whenever I have down time to keep listening to "natural" language in a more relaxed way. Do you have a list of the top 10 popular contemporary movies (not old classics; more interested in recent box office)? Thanks.
ok4rmNovember 26, 2011, 07:55 AM
I, too, like to watch movies in order to improve my listening skills.
So far I could get only two DVDs in Mandarin: Chinese Odyssey 天下无双 (2002, not the 1994 movies) and Hero. The first one states the sound track is in Cantonese, but in fact it is in Mandarin and I would say it is easy to catch - many simple, short sentences, some sentences are repeated several times through the movie, actors do not speak too fast etc.
Hero (not sure about the English name, I bought the DVDs in Czech Republic) is a nice legend about the man who decided not to kill the emperor in the times of unification of seven kingdoms. The Mandarin is quite clear at times. Subtitles help a lot. Even at my newbie level I was able to catch some phrases. You will practice numbers a couple of times, as the Hero is gradually allowed to come closer and closer to the Emperor. You will be able to catch phrases like yī bǎi bù 一百步，èr shí bù 二十步 - one hundred steps, twenty steps, etc. and lot more.
I hope it helps.
Just a bit of additional flavor on Hero: I'm told that Chen Daoming's mandarin is pretty good, so if there's anyone's mandarin worth emulating, it's his. I would have thought that Jet Li's mandarin was good enough being from Beijing, but maybe the King of Qin was required to speak royally for his era. .
WillInSingNovember 26, 2011, 09:34 AM
When I ask this question, my Chinese friends generally tell me: anything from Jiang Wen.
I recently watched Let the Bullets Fly (which he directed and starrs in) which is great fun, even though I can't claim to understand enough of what they say.
The Sun Also Rises is an impressive movie, and reasonably easy to understand, but it's quite "artsy" and you'll probably be wondering what the heck it was all about at the end.
In the older ones: Farewell My Concubine is a classic that won the Cannes Palme d'Or but I found it utterly unintelligeable (Beijing accent, old-world words). Four Wives is a bit similar and also pretty grim.
The Road Home is nice but I haven't seen it since I started learning Chinese.
ouyangjun116November 27, 2011, 02:23 AM
Top Chinese movies (note, all in mandarin):
1. 谍海风云 (Shanghai) - Based in 1940's Shanghai and starring John Cusack as an American expatriate living in Shanghai months prior to the Pearl Harbor bombing.
2. 人在囧途 (Lost on Journey) - My favorite Chinese comedy. Follows the story of two men, one peasant and one succesful business man, who are going home for Chinese New Year.
3. 大武生 (My Kingdom) - a great movie about love, betrayal and Chinese Opera (aka Beijing Opera, 京剧).
4. 武侠 - a Kung Fu movie with Donnie Yen (甄子丹) my favorite modern KungFu actor... it plays out more or less as a detective story about finding the truth out about a "simple man" and a dangerous clan. (can be found on Youku)
5. 叶问 (IP Man) - another Kung Fu movie with Donnie Yen (甄子丹) about the teacher of the ever famous Bruce Lee... this is the first in a series of two with Donnie Yen.
6. 最爱 (Love for Life) - a really good movie, but really sad. About a village that got ruined by the spread of AIDS and two lovers with the disease... great movie but really sad.
7. 色，戒 (Lust Caution) - an espionage thriller by Ang Lee about Japanese occupied Shanghai in the 1940's.
If you don't live in China and have difficulty finding Chinese movies, I suggest going to Youku (www.youku.com), they have a bunch of full length movies online....
oh dangran. Thanks mate. I was thinking at the time that John Cusack must have had a father or grandfather of the same name in the acting game as well. I still like that it's set in the 40's. There was a movie yonks ago [ I saw it as a kid and even then it was a very old movie] that was at least partially set in Shanghai. I just wish I knew what it was and could watch it again now, older and wiser [??].
chrisNovember 27, 2011, 01:46 PM
A great movie I saw last year was the one about a family caught in the Tangshan earthquake in the late 1970s and following their lives up to the present day. Fantastically shot, fantastically cast and relatively clear, standard mandarin for a chinese learner. I forget the name of the film, but it won much acclaim when it was released last year. Hopefully a fellow poddie can contribute the name. It may have been something obvious like "tangshan earthquake". I must warn you, it is a tear jerker and requires a heart of stone not to shed a tear at the end.
Chris, you're right, great movie. It's called 唐山大地震 (english is called Aftershock or something along those lines). When the movie first came out my girlfriend didn't want to see it, because she is from Tangshan. She was afraid it would be too sad, but we eventually got it on DVD and sure enough it was a sad movie, but worth watching.