Fifth Generation Chinese Cinema

Yimou Zhang – Man cheng jin dai huang jin jia AKA Curse of the Golden Flower [+Extras] (2006)

A dying love between two powerful people leads to deceit, infidelity, and conspiracy in this epic-scale historical drama from director Zhang Yimou. During the latter days of the Tang dynasty, the Emperor (Chow Yun-Fat) returns home from the war with his son Prince Jai (Jay Chou) in tow. However, the monarch gets a chilly reception from the Empress (Gong Li); though she’s eager to see her son, her marriage has become deeply acrimonious, and she’s taken a lover, Crown Prince Wan (Liu Ye), her stepson from the Emperor’s first marriage. The Emperor, meanwhile, has his own plan for dealing with his failing marriage — he’s ordered the Imperial Doctor (Ni Dahong) to find an exotic drug that will drive the Empress insane and administer it to her without her knowledge. However, the doctor’s ethical dilemma is intensified by the fact his daughter Chan (Li Man) has fallen in love with Crown Prince Wan and the two wish to elope. As the Emperor and Empress allow their estrangement to sink into violence and retribution, their youngest son, Prince Yu (Qin Junjie), struggles to keep the peace in the household. Read More »

Kaige Chen – Huang tu di AKA Yellow Earth (1984)

Michael Brooke, imdb wrote:
A communist soldier is sent to a remote region of China in order to collect folk songs. Staying with a peasant family (a widower with two small children), he discovers a community whose way of life is completely alien to him, but he gradually wins their trust… Read More »

Yimou Zhang – Jin ling shi san chai AKA The Flowers of War [+Extras] (2011)

A Westerner finds refuge with a group of women in a church during Japan’s rape of Nanking in 1937. Posing as a priest, he attempts to lead the women to safety. Read More »

Yimou Zhang – Gui lai AKA Coming Home [+Extras] (2014)

Lu and Feng are a devoted couple forced to separate when Lu is arrested and sent to a labor camp as a political prisoner during the Cultural Revolution. He finally returns home only to find that his beloved wife no longer recognizes him. Read More »

Yimou Zhang – Shi mian mai fu AKA House of Flying Daggers [+Extras] (2004)

Quote:
Mei is an exotic, beautiful blind dancer, associated with a dangerous revolutionary gang, known as the House of Flying Daggers. Captured by officers of the decadent Tang Dynasty, Mei finds herself both threatened by and attracted to the most unusual circumstances. Here, her heart and loyalties battle each other, amid warriors in the treetops and dazzling combat the likes of which have never before been seen! Read More »

Kaige Chen – Hai zi wang AKA King of the Children (1987)

Quote:
An unschooled young man, one of the countless victims of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, is labouring in the countryside when he is suddenly assigned to teach in a near-by village school. Gradually, he finds the confidence to ditch the Maoist textbook and encourage the barely literate kids to write about their own lives and feelings. At the same time, through a series of dream-like meetings with a young cowherd, he begins to sense the possibilities of a life beyond the parameters of traditional education. Read More »

Shuqin Huang – Hua Hun aka A Soul Haunted by Painting (1995)

Based on the true story of a Chinese painter, Pan Yuliang (Gong Li), whose work was celebrated in Paris yet rejected at home. At fifteen years old, she was sold into prostitution. Her life changes when she marries a high official. Through her husband, she finds expression in western painting, and furthers her studies in Paris. Although highly respected in Paris, it wasn’t until after her death that she received the acceptance at home she so desperately sought. The film is directed by Huang Shuqin, a woman director famous for highlighting the influence of tradition on gender issues. Read More »