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Chinese Films

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Welcome to our foreign films page, featuring foreign movies in video and DVD format in languages from a host of countries. Note: unless stated otherwise, all videocassettes are in VHS and NTSC format, and all DVDs are for players that support Region 1 encoding (United States and Canada) and are in NTSC format. Check our DVD Compatibility FAQ for more information about region encoding, television formats, and other specifications. If you can't find what you need, please email us.

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Featured Selection


Shower
Zhang Yang
The old and new worlds collide in this charming tale of a family divided, then brought together by a traditional bathhouse. The successful, career-minded son of the bathhouse's owner first sees the establishment as outdated, but as he spends more time with his family and friends, and as the threat of its destruction draws near, he begins to see its worth. "...a delicate, lyrical case for the importance of holding on to small traditions" (Desson Howe, Washington Post). Videocassette and DVD in Mandarin with English subtitles; China, 1999, 94 mins.
DVD | $44.95  


The Blue Kite
Tian Zhuangzhuang
Condemned by the Chinese government, The Blue Kite provides a unique window into contemporary Chinese life and politics. During the Cultural Revolution in China, a man called Teitou, his family and his friends all experience the political and social upheavals that shook a continent. This scathing indictment of life under Chairman Mao was banned along with the filmmaker. Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 1993, 138 mins.
DVD | $44.95  


Chinese Films


Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
Dai Si Jie
This 2003 Golden Globe nominee for Best Foreign Film is based on the experience of director Dai Si Jie, who spent four years in a re-education program instigated during Mao Zedong's "Cultural Revolution." Two teenage boys, Ma (Ye Liu) and Luo (Kun Chen), are sent to live on the remote mountain known as Phoenix in the Sky. The boys steal the "subversive" novels of Honore de Balzac, Flaubert, Dostoevsky, and Gogol, and read them to the granddaughter of the local tailor (Xun Zhou). While reading, both boys fall in love with the girl, and, through Balzac, discover awakening desire, passion, impulsive action, love - all the subjects that had, until then, been hidden. In Mandarin with English subtitles. China/France, 2003, 112 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Beijing Rocks
Mabel Cheung
Chinese rock and roll and youth culture takes center stage in this drama about the love-hate relationships among three restless characters standing outside of society's mainstream. Shu Qi (Hou Hsiao-hsien's Millennium Mambo), Daniel Wu and Geng Le star. Includes alternate ending, "teaser" and theatrical trailer, "making of" segment, and more. In Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 2001, 105 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Blue Gate Crossing
Yee Chih-yen
Joys, wonders and questions arise as three teens discover their sexuality in this gentle, coming-of-age comedy. Best friends Meng (Guey Lun-mei) and Lin (Liang Shu-hui) are typical 17-year-old high school girls. But, when Lin reveals her crush on the star of the swim team to her best friend, previously unknown feelings of jealously and attraction are stirred up in Meng, leading her to question her own sexuality. "Enchanting" (New York Post). In Mandarin with English subtitles. Taiwan/France, 2002, 85 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

The Blue Kite
Tian Zhuangzhuang
Condemned by the Chinese government, The Blue Kite provides a unique window into contemporary Chinese life and politics. During the Cultural Revolution in China, a man called Teitou, his family and his friends all experience the political and social upheavals that shook a continent. This scathing indictment of life under Chairman Mao was banned along with the filmmaker. Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 1993, 138 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Book and Sword: The Final Battle
Daniel Li
In this final chapter of the Book and Sword series, Red Flower Chief Chan (Vincent Zhao) is forced into exile to escape the bloodthirsty Empress Dowager. He joins with a group of nomads determined to make a successive strike against her. In Cantonese and Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 2003, 165 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Chivalrous Legend
Choi Yeung Meng
Set during Japan's invasion of Taiwan, this action feature follows a martial artist and gambler who teams up with a prostitute to form a Robin Hood-type partnership--stealing money from the rich to help the poor. As Japanese authorities close in, they must go into hiding. Cantonese and Mandarin with English subtitles. Taiwan, 1999, 96 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Country Teachers
He Qun
A dedicated young teacher in a small Chinese village works against all odds for the future of her students in this inspirational story of truth and dedication. In her selfless pursuit, she learns about love, the kindness of country folk and the power of education. Winner of two Chinese Academy Awards. Stars Ju Xue, Li Baotian, Xiu Zongdi and Wang Xueqi. In Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 1993, 90 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Dating a Vampire
Clarence Fok
Wong Jing (Naked Killer) directed this horror comedy about two med students who meet three sisters, their neighbors in an apartment building, and the problems that erupt when the women are discovered to be vampires. One of the students is eyed for an upcoming underground marriage. Can these vampires be stopped? In Cantonese and Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 2006, 91 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Deng Xiaoping...A Legend
CCTV, the official Chinese TV news station, produced this documentary highlighting the political career and reign of Deng Xiaoping, the successor to Mao for the leadership of China. Among the topics covered are the Cultural Revolution, Tianmen Square, and the rise of China to a Westernized economy. In Chinese with English subtitles. China, 2005, 95 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Devils on the Doorstep
Wen Jiang
Wen Jiang directs and stars in this sweeping look at life in a Chinese village under Japanese occupation during WWII. Jiang plays a man ordered by Japanese soldiers to house two prisoners. When the soldiers do not return for their captives, the villagers must decide what to do with them. The winner of the Grand Prix at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival, it was an international hit, but created a furor in China, where the government banned the film and exiled Jiang from the Chinese film industry. The DVD is letterboxed, and includes introduction by director Stephen Soderbergh, trailer, interview with Jiang Wen, and Jiang Wen biography and filmography. In Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 2000, 140 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

East Palace, West Palace
Zhang Yuan
A truly daring portrait of gay life and oppression from authorities in China. A young homosexual is arrested for cruising in a park near the grounds of the Forbidden Palace in Beijing. While in custody, his relationship with the interrogating officer mirrors the tension between China's authoritarian regime and its citizens. "Zhang mingles powerful drama and courageous politics..." (Lawrence van Gelder, New York Times). Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 1997, 94 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Empress Wu Zetian/Dream of the Red Chamber
Peilin Fang/Wancang Bu
Two classic films from a tumultuous era in Chinese history. Empress Wu Zetian (Peilin Fang, 1939) is a socially-conscious biopic based on the legendary Empress Wu, who took the title of Emperor away from the patriarchy during the Tang Dynasty. This is followed by Dream of the Red Chamber (Wancang Bu, 1944), a romantic costume drama set during the 1700s and based on arguably the greatest work in Chinese fiction. Also known as Hong Lou Meng, it remains one of the earliest filmed versions of the novel. In Mandarin with newly translated English subtitles. China, 1939/1944, 220 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

For the Children
Yazhou Yang
Following the death of her husband and son, peasant Meili Zhang opens a school for poor children in the harsh desert of northwest China. When a cultured teacher from Beijing arrives, the lives of these two very different miracle workers become intertwined as they strive to educate the impoverished. "Engaging performances...totally captivating" (Derek Elley, Variety). With Quan Yuan, Ping Ni and Haiying Sun. In Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 2002, 105 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Gada Meilin
Feng Xiaoning
Feng Xiaoning's epic biopic recounts the story of Gada Meilin, a Mongolian tribesman who struggled to protect the Horqin grasslands from desertification in the 1930's. Through his battles with local government officials and his tribe's chieftan Meilin has come to be regarded as a kind of modern day folk hero. Xiaoning's beautifully photographed drama features music by San Bao. Winner for Best Film at the Beijing Film Festival. In Chinese with English subtitles. China, 2001, 109 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Goddess of Mercy
Ann Hui
This film is an adaptation of a popular novel about the everyday work of a drug police team. The protagonist is a courageous police woman whose relationships with three men in her life make up the plot of the film. She is always faced with a difficult choice between sentiment, duty, law, and her own understanding of what is just and fair. Starring Nicholas Tse, Vicki Zhao, and Liu Yunlong. Widescreen. English and Mandarin subtitle options. China, 2003, 110 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Going to School with Father on My Back
Zhou Youchao
In a poor, rural village, a father must decide which of his two children will be able to attend school. With the spin of a spoon, the younger brother wins the right to an education. Going to school, he finds new worlds opening up to him, but with them comes distance from his family members and others. Director Zhou Youchao served as an assistant to Zhang Yimou on Ju Dou and Red Sorghum. In Cantonese with English subtitles. China, 1998, 90 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

The Horse Thief
Tian Zhuangzhuang
The setting is the harsh, barren landscape of Tibet, which on film has a stark beauty not unlike the landscapes of American westerns. Here, amidst a series of tribal and Buddhist rituals captured wordlessly and in great detail, unfolds a tribal drama of theft, ostracism, and terrible retribution. A film of mystical dimensions, The Horse Thief is a breathtaking 'Scope epic which concentrates on a primitive way of life and manages to capture it with a surprising degree of sophistication. Mandarin with English subtitles. Full-screen letterbox format. China, 1987, 88 mins.
Videocassette | $44.95  

Journey to the Western Xia Empire
Lu Wei
The co-writer of Farewell My Concubine steps behind the camera for an impressive directorial debut. In medieval China, soldiers are dispatched by the emperor to collect male children who will be molded into warriors. The mother of one kidnapped child follows the soldiers' procession to care for her son, earning their respect and admiration in the process. Named Best First Film at China's 17th Golden Rooster Awards. In Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 1997, 110 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Karmic Mahjong
Wang Kwong Li
Francis Ng stars as a hapless man with continuous bad luck who takes the advice of a fortune teller as to how to change his fortunes. However, eliminating the villain causing the problem may be difficult, since he begins to suspect his wife (Cherrie Yin) may be the source. In Cantonese and Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 2006, 90 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Killing Skill
Ko Fei
A young girl seeks revenge on an assassin after he brutally murders her family and destroys her life. She turns to a famed marksman for aide and training, eventually becoming a killer herself. Loosely based on Robert Rodriguez's 1995 film Desperado, this film nevertheless stands on its own as a fine action thriller. In Cantonese and Mandarin with English and Chinese subtitles. China, 2002, 90 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Laughing in the Wind: Volume 1
Featuring breathtaking landscapes, colorful costumes, and masterful martial arts choreography, this epic tale is among the most popular programs ever to appear on Chinese television. Set in a treacherous world of danger and betrayal, warriors and lovers, the series sketches the adventures of the heroic Ling and his lover Ying, the daughter of the powerful Secret Party leader. Volume 1 includes episodes 1-10. 2-DVD Collector's Edition includes trailer and photo insert. In Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 2004, 500 mins.
DVD | $59  

Laughing in the Wind: Volume 2
The second volume of an acclaimed Chinese television series, based on a popular novel by Jin Yong, author of the wuxia fantasy genre. Characterized by passionate romance and thrilling choreography, the series follows secret Gong Fu societies as they battle to lay claim to the infamous Pi Xie Swordplay Manual. Volume 2 includes episodes 11-20. 2-DVD set. Includes trailer, photo insert, and Wuxia Fight Spectacular. In Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 2004, 500 mins.
DVD | $59  

Laughing in the Wind: Volume 3
The third volume of this wildly popular martial arts epic captures Ling's encounter with the Four Masters of Mei Manor, and introduces a mysterious figure who reveals the thrilling secret behind mastering the final skill from the Pi Xie Swordplay Manual. Includes episodes 21-30. Includes trailer, collectible photo insert, Wuxia glossary of terms, fighting and magic moves featurette, and pictorial introduction to The 18 Weapons and Skills. In Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 2004, 500 mins.
DVD | $59  

Laughing in the Wind: Volume 4
Startling secrets are revealed in the final episodes of this acclaimed Chinese television series. As the saga nears its conclusion, the secret of the Purity Sword Book is revealed, the Righteous Party and the Holy Party swap good and evil roles, and the brave hero Ling rises to forge a promising new future as the chief of the Hengshan party. Volume 4 includes episodes 31-40. Includes trailer, collectible photo insert, and pictorial introduction to "The 18 Traditional Weapons and Skills". In Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 2004, 500 mins.
DVD | $59  

Legend of the Mountain
King Hu
Famed director King Hu (A Touch of Zen, Sons of Good Earth) brings a traditional Chinese legend to life in this lavish film. The story centers on Ho, a Sung Dynasty scholar given the task of translating a Buddhist sutra. He ventures to a decrepit, deserted town to work in peace, but instead finds love in the form of two women. He soon discovers that the women are ghosts seeking possession of the sutra. A rather slow, measured film, but worth viewing for its beauty. In Mandarin and Cantonese with English and Chinese subtitles. China, 1979, 110 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Lover's Grief Over the Yellow River
Feng Xiaoning
An American pilot crash lands in mountainous Chinese terrain near the end of World War II. A squadron of Chinese guerilla fighters finds him, nurse him back to health, and attempt to escort him to liberated territory. The American ends up conquering his own prejudices and fighting with the Chinese soldiers against their Japanese aggressors. An inspiring WWII epic. In Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 1999, 110 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

The Missing Gun
Lu Chan
Chinese superstar Jiang Wen stars in this gripping thriller. He plays a small-town cop who awakes after a night of wild celebration to discover that his gun is missing. It's a state issued firearm, loaded with three bullets. While he attempts to retrace his steps, his ex-girlfriend turns up shot dead... and the bullet appears to be from his gun. In order to clear his name and convince the authorities that he's not the killer, he must find the gun before the other two bullets are fired. In Chinese; subtitles in English, French, Portuguese, Spanish. China, 2003, 90 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Mongolian Ping Pong
Ning Hao
When young Bilike finds an ordinary ping pong ball, he and his friends take to flights of imaginative whimsy and embark on a journey to find the source of the mysterious unknown object. Bilike's old grandmother says the ball is a glowing pearl sent by the gods, but the boys are skeptical after it fails their tests. Since none of their other family members are able to offer any more insight, the three boys seek answers at a remote monastery, the Chinese capital, and other far-flung destinations. "Funny, beautiful, and majestic... full of offbeat delights" (Chicago Tribune). In Mongolian with English subtitles. China, 2004, 102 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

My Left Eye Sees Ghosts
Johnny To
Johnny To (Running Out of Time, The Mission) directs this horror comedy starring Lau Ching Wan and Hong Kong pop diva Sammi Cheng. When a widow (Cheng) discovers that she can see ghosts out of her left eye, she starts to receive regular visits from ghosts seeking help in finishing their last wishes. Wan plays a particularly naughty ghost who promises to look for the widow's husband on the other side if she helps him discover his last regret. In Cantonese and Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 2002, 97 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Myriad of Lights/Along the Sungari River
Shen Fu/Jin Shan
A double feature of classic Chinese films that grew out of the devastation of World War II. Myriad of Lights (Shen Fu, 1948), also known as The Lights of Ten Thousand Homes, was suppressed by the Communist Party for its portrayal of a poor family dealing with unemployment and harsh living conditions in the slums of Shanghai. Authorities had no reason to take issue with Along the Sungari River (Jin Shan, 1947), an anti-Japanese war film about the hardships faced by a young woman whose parents were killed during the Japanese invasion. In Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 1948/1947, 230 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Never Compromise
Bosco Lam
When two life-long friends and partners-in-crime are released from prison, they murder a family of seven and go on a crime spree across mainland China. Based on true events, this crime thriller makes up in action what it lacks in plot. In Cantonese and Mandarin with multilingual subtitles. China, 1999, 86 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

New Year Sacrifice
Sang Hu
In a mountain hamlet in eastern China, a poor woman faces trial after trial. Sold into marriage as a child, she is left a young widow and enslaved by her mother-in-law, who sells her to a poor peasant. Her second marriage turns out to be happy until fate takes away her husband and son. Now seen as a bearer of bad luck, she becomes a social outcast. When the New Year comes, can this poor woman find any hope in this society? Based on the short story by the prolific Chinese author Lu Xun. In Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 1956, 100 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Orphan on the Streets/The Watch
Zhao Ming/Yan Gong
Two 1949 films from the Chinese Film Classics Collection. An Orphan on the Streets (Zhao Ming/Yan Gong), also known as San mao liu lang ji and The Winter of Three Hairs, is a Kunlun Film Company production about the comic misadventures of a street urchin. The Watch, based on a story by famed author Lu Xun, is film that follows the path of a stolen timepiece as it changes hands and changes lives. In Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 1949, 178 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

The Personals
Chen Kuo-fu
The modern urban life of material comfort and social discomfort is portrayed in this funny, sad, and truthful look at romance today. Rene Liu stars as an ophthalmologist who quits her job to search for the perfect mate through the newspaper personal ads. As she meets several wholly inappropriate matches and comes face-to-face with overwhelming loneliness, the film moves in an unexpected direction. "...lightly comic and ultimately poignant" (Christopher Bourne, 24 Frames Per Second). In Mandarin with English subtitles. Taiwan, 1998, 104 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Platform
Je Zhang-Ke
Director Je Zhang-Ke skillfully follows a group of musicians living in a remote section of China as they adapt to the social and political changes that occurred from 1979-1989 - years that saw the country reinventing itself in the wake of the Cultural Revolution. As modernity and Westernization hits their small village, the four friends see their lives and relationships change for the better and the worse. In Mandarin with English subtitles. China/Hong Kong/Japan/France, 2000, 150 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Purple Butterfly
Lou Ye
Lou Ye's historical drama is set in 1930s Shanghai, right before the start of the Sino-Japanese War. Popular Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi (Hero) plays a young woman deeply in love with a Japanese national (Toru Nakamura) who's about to be sent home for military service. When her brother is killed by a Japanese extremist, Ziyi chooses sides and begins fighting for an anti-Japanese resistance group, even though it pits her against the man she loves. "Mr. Lou synthesizes a wide range of styles and influences - from Casablanca to Wong Kar-wai - resulting in a movie that, for all its haunting strangeness, seems curiously familiar" (A.O. Scott, New York Times). In Mandarin, Japanese, and Vietnamese with English subtitles. China, 2003, 127 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Purple Sunset
Feng Xiaoning
The final entry in Feng Xianoning's "War and Peace" trilogy is set during the waning days of WWII in China. As Soviet troops pour into China and engage Japanese troops in battle, scattered survivors make their way off of the battlefield. Feng's film follows the unlikely friendship that develops between a Chinese soldier, a Japanese soldier, and a Soviet soldier who band together in order to survive. China, 2001, 102 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Rainbow
Gao Xiao-Song
This expressionistic tale of sexual politics follows Rainbow, a mute yet musically gifted girl, whose arranged marriage to an impotent and crippled art teacher causes her eye to wander. Set against the historical background of China's bloody war with Japan in the 1930's, the bold colors and unique stylization of Gao Xiao-Song's film brings to mind both Zhang Yimou and Takashi Miike. With its Surrealistic imagery and classical-meets-heavy metal soundtrack, Rainbow offers a glimpse of a bright new talent on the Chinese cinema scene. In Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 2004, 91 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Red Cherry
Ye Ying
The Chinese nominee for the Oscar is a horrific tale based on a true story about Chuchu and Luo Xiaoman, two Chinese orphans, and their struggle to survive in Russia during World War II as German prisoners. Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 1995, 120 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Red River Valley
Feng Xiaoning
Feng Xiaoning delves into China and Tibet's rich history in this vigorous, coming-of-age epic set during the 1905 British occupation of Tibet and China's eventual control of the country. A young woman finds new life after being rescued by a Tibetian woman. She later saves the lives of two British officers who have designs on Tibet's future. In English and Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 1996, 120 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Restless
Jule Gilfillan
Jule Gilfillan's story of two Americans that find love in Beijing was the first US-Chinese co-production in history. Restless is the story of Leah and David, two friends who travel to China for self-discovery and familial knowledge, yet end up falling in love with two Chinese nationals. Ken Eisner of Variety calls it "a winning look at cross-cultural romance." China/USA, 1998, 100 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Rickshaw Boy
Ling Zifeng
One of the first films from the modern People's Republic of China to break into American theatres, this coming-of-age drama follows a hard-working peasant as he attempts to succeed in life and love in the city. His trials reveal the often tough rift between ancient rural and modern Chinese cultures. Based on the novel by Lao She. Stars Zhang Fengyi, Siqin Gaowa, Yin Xin, Yan Bide and Li Tang. In Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 1982, 120 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Roaring Across the Horizon
Chen Guoxing
An odd piece of Chinese Communist Party propaganda that chronicles and celebrates China's development of nuclear weapons. Frightening in its adhesion to the party-line, this drama documents the Chinese government's decision to enter the arms race due to a self-proclaimed threat of insecurity after WWII, the Chinese Civil War and the Korean War. They hire a MIT-trained Chinese patriot to head the project, but there is a huge snag - his wife's estranged father is a capitalist. "Chilling" (The Village Voice). In Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 1999, 120 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Seventeen Years
Zhang Yuan
In Zhang Yuan's moving drama, a pair of teenage stepsisters become bitter rivals in an attempt to win their parents' affection. Xiaoqin (Li Jun) is a strong-willed girl who is proud of her working-class roots, while Xiaolan (Liu Lin) is attractive, academic, and urbane. One day their tense rivalry explodes, and in a moment of shocking violence Xiaolan attacks Xiaoquin and kills her. The duration of Yuan's film is devoted to the 17 years Xiaolin spends behind bars and a New Year's furlough that she spends searching for her family. Winner of the Best Director Prize (Yuan) at the Venice Film Festival. In Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 1999, 85 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Shower
Zhang Yang
The old and new worlds collide in this charming tale of a family divided, then brought together by a traditional bathhouse. The successful, career-minded son of the bathhouse's owner first sees the establishment as outdated, but as he spends more time with his family and friends, and as the threat of its destruction draws near, he begins to see its worth. "...a delicate, lyrical case for the importance of holding on to small traditions" (Desson Howe, Washington Post). Videocassette and DVD in Mandarin with English subtitles; China, 1999, 94 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Sleeping with the Dead
Cheng Wai Man
Jordan Chan plays David, a doctor who can see ghosts in this Hong Kong horror film with crime-drama underpinnings. When his childhood friends start turning up dead, David suspects that he might be next. As he investigates the murders with another threatened childhood friend, detective Iron Cheung (played by Simon Lui), they unlock forgotten secrets and crimes that are chilling and unnerving. An interesting, yet slightly uneven, film. In Cantonese and Mandarin with English and Chinese subtitles. China, 2002, 95 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

So Close to Paradise
Wang Xiaoshuai
While not nearly as controversial as his 1998 feature, Frozen, Wang Xiaoshuai's So Close to Paradise was still held up for several years and re-edited by Chinese censors, wary of the impact of its bleak portrait of urban corruption. It tells the story of two friends who find their lives at the crossroads when they move to the city. As one becomes involved in the criminal underworld, he pulls his friend into a fatal scheme. "...a film that is wise, fatalistic and romantic in just the right proportions - in the best noir tradition" (Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times). In Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 1998, 90 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

The Spring River Flows East
Chusheng Cai/Junli Zheng
This epic has been described as China's Gone With the Wind, and considering its grand narrative scope, brazen melodramatics, and attempts to deal with national trauma, the comparison is not unwarranted. Set before and after the War of Resistance to Japan, The Spring River Flows East chronicles a family's dissection after Japanese occupying forces enter their once peaceful village. 2-DVD Special Edition. In Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 1947, 180 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Spring in a Small Town
Fei Mu
Fei Mu's postwar chamber drama was voted "the greatest Chinese film ever made" multiple times by the Hong Kong Film Awards Association, but was suppressed for years by the Communists on ideological grounds. The story focuses on an unfulfilled wife stuck in a hopeless marriage with an ailing landowner. A doctor comes to treat her husband, and this happens to be a childhood love, further complicating matters. The rubble-filled mise-en-scene perfectly mirrors the heroine's cracked emotional state. "Increasingly claustrophobic and shadowy...closer in mood to Strindberg than Chekhov" (J. Hoberman, The Village Voice). Later remade by Tian Zhuangzhuang as Springtime in a Small Town (2002). In Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 1948, 85 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Springtime in a Small Town
Tian Zhuangzhuang
An exquisitely crafted romantic drama that explores a love triangle in a provincial Chinese village during the 1940's. Beautifully shot by Mark Lee Ping-bing (Wong Kar-wai's In the Mood for Love and Hou Hsiao-hsien's The Puppet Master), the film patiently unfolds the story of a sickly man and his wife whose eight-year marriage has left them both unfulfilled and distant. The arrival of an old friend at their estate re-ignites a forgotten passion in the wife and raises tensions amongst the trio. Winner of the San Marco Prize at the 2002 Venice International Film Festival. "One of the best films of the year" (Richard Corliss, Time). Includes a behind-the-scenes featurette, an interview with the director, the U.S. theatrical trailer, weblinks and more. In Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 2002, 116 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Stolen Life
Li Shaohong
A stirring account of one girl's struggle to find her own identity in modern China. Yanni's parents send her to live with her relatives in Beijing, where she cuts herself off from the world. Though she grows up helpless and alone, a brighter chapter of her life arrives when she's accepted to college. A chapter her first boyfriend, Muyu, will soon end. "Marvelous...Reflects the difficulties and confusions of young adults trying to find their way in the 'new' China" (Film Comment). Stars Jun Wu and Xun Zhou. In Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 2005, 90 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Suzhou River
Lou Ye
A stylish and seductive film about obsessive love, Suzhou River is a dual romance that draws on aspects of film noir, the French New Wave, and Hitchcock's Vertigo. "....photographed in the grainy, high-contrast glamour of a Wong Kar-wai romance. Lou Ye lays out a ravishing wasteland of femmes fatales and lovelorn tough guys" (Richard Corliss, Time). In Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 2000, 83 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Swordsmen of Double Flag Town
He Ping
A grand drama of honor and revenge plays out in a Chinese version of the American West in this action-packed martial arts number from the director of Red Firecracker, Green Firecracker. After learning of his arranged marriage at his father's deathbed, a young swordsman travels to Double Flag Town to find his promised bride. When ruthless bandits attempt to rape the woman and kill her father, the swordsman faces off against the attackers in a violent confrontation, which provokes the wrath of the Lethal Swordsman. Winner of the Critics Award at the Berlin International Film Festival. Also known as The Bride of a Young Swordsman. In Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 1990, 90 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Uniform
Diao Yinan
A struggling tailor finds salvation in a policeman's uniform left in his family's shop in this sensitive and slyly humorous film from Diao Yinan, the screenwriter of Shower. Wang cleverly impersonates a cop in order to extort money to pay his father's medical bills, and the rouse has the added benefit of helping to woo a local shopgirl. "[A] poignant, minimalist work, whose pristine video images lodge a passionate protest against social dissolution in modern China" (Sam Adams, Philadelphia City Paper). Includes director interview, director introduction and biography, photo gallery, discussion guide, and more. In Mandarin with English subtitles. China/Hong Kong, 2003, 92 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Unknown Pleasures
Je Zhang-Ke
A harrowing look at disillusioned teens growing up amidst turbulent social changes in contemporary China. Xiao Ji and Bin Bin spend their days looking for anything to break up the monotony of life in the dreary city of Datong. Inspired by American gangster films, particularly Pulp Fiction, video games and anime, the duo hatch a robbery scheme to finance an escape. Haunting and often humorous, Unknown Pleasures offers a realistic look at teen alienation and desperation. "...a fiction with the force of documentary" (J. Hoberman, The Village Voice). In Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 2002, 113 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Warriors of Heaven and Earth
He Ping
This Chinese epic of war, camaraderie, and honor operates in the tradition of Kurosawa's Seven Samurai and was a trying labor of love for director He Ping. Ostensibly a western set in the Gobi Desert, the film follows the adventures of a Japanese swordsman who seeks to earn his ticket home by killing a ruthless renegade soldier. Stunning visuals and a colorful mish-mash of genre elements bring He Ping's vision to life. Chinese/Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 2004, 119 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Welcome to Destination Shanghai
Andrew Cheng
Andrew Cheng's keenly observed drama is set in modern Shanghai, where impoverished dwellers along the Suzhou River eek out a living amidst rampant social decay. Cheng follows an eclectic cast of down-and-out characters--prostitutes, struggling day laborers, an aging actress--through a series of raw, bittersweet vignettes. "[An] incisive dystopic vision of contemporary Shanghai" (Strictly Film School). In Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 2003, 86 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Wind and Cloud: The Storm Riders
Raymond Lee
Ching Siu Tung (House of Flying Daggers) choreographed the fight scenes in this sweeping martial arts epic, based on a popular fantasy wuxia comic. Set twelve years after the battle depicted in The Storm Riders, the film stars Vincent Zhao as a swordsman who's called into action for a challenging confrontation. Includes 5.1 sound, Mandarin, English, and Cantonese language options, and English and Chinese subtitle options. In Cantonese with English subtitles. China, 2005, 109 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Woman Sesame Oil Maker
Xie Fei
At the center of this moving intergenerational family drama is an old legend about two girls who drowned themselves in a local lake and were said to have flown away as beautiful birds. A contemporary entrepreneur succeeds in business despite her drunken, abusive husband. Now she faces the chore of putting another woman into an unhappy arranged marriage because her mentally ill son desires a wife. Can this older, wiser woman prevent another drowning? Co-winner of the Golden Bear and the Film Critics' Award at the 1993 Berlin Film Festival. Also released as Women from the Lake of Scented Souls. Mandarin with English subtitles. China 1993 106 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

The Wooden Man's Bride
Huang Jianxin
Two lovers are joined in forbidden love in this tempestuous drama. Kui must deliver a beautiful bride to her new family. While she is en route, kidnappers intervene and before she can reach her husband, he dies. Despite this turn of fortune, she must marry him in effigy, forcing her into an illicit affair with the man she really loves. Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 1995, 114 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

The World
Jia Zhang-Ke
Jia Zhang-Ke (Platform, Unknown Pleasures) extends a stinging rebuke of urbanization and globalization in this visually dazzling tour-de-force. The film's setting is World Park, a Beijing amusement park full of kitschy attractions and chintzy scale-models of global landmarks. It's within the confines of this bloodless cultural wasteland that the park's employees drift like displaced persons, searching desperately for meaningful human connections. Filmed with a flamboyant visual style reminiscent of Tati, Je's fourth feature is truly a marvel. "The best new film I saw anywhere in 2004" (Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader). Includes video interview with critic Jonathan Rosenbaum, trailer, photo gallery, character sketches and essay on the real World Park, and production notes by director Jia Zhang-Ke. In Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 2004, 143 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Yi Yi (A One and a Two)
Edward Yang
Edward Yang's profound and beautiful film conveys the powerful emotional truths of everyday life as it depicts the struggles, hopes and dreams of a middle-class family in Taipei. "...a wonderfully engrossing experience--a lucid, elegant, nuanced, humorous movie that's never nearly as sentimental as it might have been...Yang orchestrates a soap opera season's worth of family crises with virtuoso discretion" (J. Hoberman, The Village Voice). Yang won Best Director honors at the Cannes Film Festival and Yi Yi was named Best Film of 2000 by the National Society of Film Critics and Best Foreign Language Film by the New York Film Critics' Circle. Criterion Collection Edition, includes commentary by writer-director Edward Yang and Asian cinema critic Tony Rayns, video interview with Rayns about the "New Taiwanese Cinema" movement, trailer, and essay by Kent Jones. In Mandarin with English subtitles. Taiwan, 2000, 173 mins.
DVD | $59  

A Young Prisoner's Revenge
Zhou Puxiong
When a Chinese teenager lands in prison for petty robbery, his impoverished family scrapes together a bribe to offer the judge, but the money mysteriously disappears and the youth is forced to spend three years behind bars. Upon his release, the young ex-con vows to find out what really happened to the money. In Chinese with English subtitles. China, 2004, 90 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Zhou Yu's Train
Zhou Sun
Gong Li (Raise the Red Lantern) gives an electrifying performance as Zhou Yu, a beautiful artisan enroiled in a love affair with a poet living in the Chinese countryside. But Zhou Yu's idyllic romance is threatened by an obsessive doctor and a mysterious doppelganger. A rich, complex story told in overlapping, non-linear fashion, Zhou Yu's Train also boasts beautiful cinematography of rural China. Chinese/Mandarin with English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish subtitles. China, 2004, 93 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

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Chinese Opera and Musicals


Fleeing by Night
Li-Kong Hsu/Chi Yin
Fleeing By Night is a subtle period drama set in 1930's Taiwan that tells the story of a complicated love triangle between a young girl, her cellist boyfriend and the male Chinese opera star that he adores. This lush, moving melodrama wonderfully conveys a universal tale of unrequited love against a backdrop of history, spectacle and bittersweet grace. "Exquisite! Beautiful! Extraordinary!" (The Los Angeles Times). In Mandarin with English subtitles. Taiwan, 2000, 123 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Rhapsody of Spring
Teng Wenji
The career of one of China's most revered composers is dramatized in this sprawling, beautifully constructed, award-winning film. Called Zhao Liming in the film, the character is a thinly veiled portrait of composer Shi Guangnan, who dedicated his life to the preservation of China's musical heritage from the days following the Cultural Revolution up into the modern era. In Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 1998, 120 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Saga of Mulan
Xiao Lang/Qiu Lili
An exquisite Beijing opera, staged for film, re-telling one of China's most famous legends. Expert choreography and martial arts battle sequences and lavish costume and set designs combine for a production that captures the soul of China. Winner of the Best Musical Golden Rooster Award and the Huabiao Award for Best Musical. In Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 1994, 90 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Song at Midnight
Maxu Weibang
Inspired by The Phantom of the Opera (1925) and other Universal Horror films of the 1930s, Maxu Weibang's atmospheric Song at Midnight (Ye Ban ge Sheng) tells of an opera singer working for the underground revolutionary movement. He falls in love with the daughter of an army general, who discovers their secret love and disfigures the young man's face with acid. A rarity compared to concurrent Chinese cinema. In Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 1937, 113 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Woman Demon Human
Huang Shuqin
A young girl born into the world of the Beijing Opera Company follows her dreams and becomes a professional actress. Submerging herself in her roles to escape a personal life marred by trauma, she longs to play the major "male" roles, but is trapped by a culture that forbids it. The winner of two Chinese Academy Awards, Woman Demon Human is a stunning allegory of the struggle between modernity and tradition. In Mandarin with English subtitles. China, 1987, 115 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

Yang Ban Xi: The 8 Model Works
During the Cultural Revolution of Mao Zedong's China from 1966-1976, the government allowed as the only form of broadcast entertainment Yang Ban Xi, or the Revolutionary Model Opera. These operas were lavish, Technicolor affairs with dancing and music derived from folk material mixed with politics. The works told of how Mao's China and people were better off than in earlier feudal times. The 8 Model Works on this DVD refer to the top choices (of 15) as determined by the government (including Mao's fourth wife Jiang Qing). In this documentary some of the performers who became big stars in China are interviewed, along with some Chinese youth who perform these over-the-top works as kitsch. In Cantonese with English subtitles. China, 85 mins.
DVD | $44.95