MORE CHINESE & ASIAN FILMS
|Kwaidan | Woman In The Snow - Japanese Film||Wooden Man's Bride - Chinese Film|
|Red Movies - Chinese Film Series|
Have a snack and watch a classic film about China!
RAISE THE RED LANTERN | Chinese Film
Actress Gong Li. Director Zhang Yimou. Oscar nominated masterpiece. Chinese language with English subtitle option. Originally banned in China for it's dark depiction of Chinese society. Raise The Red Lantern takes place in 1920's China when women had few options. Following the death of her father, Songlian (played by Gong Li) a beautiful 19 year old, agrees to marry a wealthy nobleman. She becomes wife four of the older master. Each wife has her own house within the closed world of the family compound, where every evening a red lantern is lit in front of the door of the wife with whom the master chooses to spend the night with. This film shows how each wife plots against each other for the attention of the master. The list of awards is astonishing including Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards 1991, Hundred Flowers Award for Best Actress 1993, Silver Lion for Best Director - (1991 Venice International Film Festival), Best Foreign Language Film - (1992 New York Film Critics Circle), Best Foreign Language Film - (1992 David di Donatello Italian Film Awards), Best Cinematography - Zhao Fei (1992 Los Angeles Film Critics Association), Best Film Not in the English Language - (1993 British Academy Film Awards), Best Foreign Language Film - (1993 National Society of Film Critics), Best Foreign Language Film - (1993 London Film Critics Circle), Best Foreign Language Film - (1993 Kansas City Film Critics Circle), Best Cinematography - (1993 National Society of Film Critics), Nominated Golden Lion for Best Film - (1991 Venice International Film Festival), Nominated Best Foreign Film - (1992 National Board of Review), Nominated Best Foreign Language Film - (1993 Independent Spirit Awards), Desson Howe of the Washington Post states that "In purely aesthetic terms, "Raise the Red Lantern" is breathtaking, Film Critic James Berardinelli said "the appeal to the eye only heightens the movie's emotional power. I don't think I've ever seen a movie quite like Raise The Red Lantern. Since I consider it to be a defining example of Chinese movie making and one of the best films of the '90s, I doubt that I ever will again."
Little China Store Review
One word: Masterpiece. 'Raise The Red Lantern' has a mysterious effect on every person who watches it. This work of cinema art is a symbol of excellence that may have no equal. You will not cry when you watch this epic tale nor will you laugh as you view this elite production. You may not even show any emotion at all. This is not an action film. This is not a special effects film. This is not fantasy. This is a comprehensive dialogue moving real-time through your mind as an exploration into a world that is mysterious and alien in nature. What will happen is that you will be mesmerized for two hours and you will take a journey into a place that will obsorb your mind, eyes and thoughts into one place. This seduction of a film will draw you in from the very opening scene and you may not take a breath until the credits roll. As the film begins, you instantly start feeling an addiction to what this is about and you wont turn away until you begin to understand how you are being drawn into a world that is so extreme and eccentric that the reality that this is actually based on real life is overwhelming to the mind. You may have to watch it several times to be able to take it all in visually. Gong Li shows why she is not only one of the most beautiful women in the world but this film conveys why she is equally a great actress. Most female performers rely on their beauty for success but Gong Li is a great actress first. This film is like art on the screen and most viewers will have deep thoughts about it long after they watch it. 'Raise The Red Lantern' is one of the most unique films ever made in the history of the world's cinema. It's beauty on the screen is only the beginning of the effect it will have on you. This is my favorite Chinese film. This film has a special place in the world of film production and will leave a lasting impression on anyone who experiences it. 'Raise The Red Lantern' is not just a film but an education. This film should be the first film in your Chinese film collection. Excellent gift item. This is truly a one of a kind unique flick and the best of the best and will be the treasure of your Chinese films. This is a five star film that can be highlighted as the best of the five star films.
I have no problem voting 'Raise The Red Lantern' the best Chinese film ever made.
Here is a link dedicated to 'Raise The Red Lantern' reviews and images.
FOR THE CHILDREN | Chinese Film
Actresses Quan Yuan and Ping Ni. Chinese language with English subtitle option. In response to the death of her husband and young son, peasant Zhang Meili founds a school in the dry desert landscape of northwest China. When cultured and chipper Xia Yu arrives from Beijing to help her out, the two women bond and learn from each others character how to best serve the children. Various subplots include the arrival of Xia¡'s husband, who tries in vain to persuade her to return to the city, Xia¡'s quick abortion, and the comically clandestine relationship between Zhang and a local projectionist. Award winning Film at the China Golden Rooster Awards sweeping all major catagories including the Best Feature Film, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. In the parched desert of China, Meili Zhang, known as Zhang Laoshi (Zhang Teacher in Mandarin) is married to a man who is executed by trial because he stole some train track ties for money, which ended up causing the train to wreck and two people died. She then teaches her young son to read and write and that evolves into teaching all the kids in the community only to have her son die at age seven. That is the backdrop of the movie before it even begins and from there, two woman enter each others very different worlds.
Little China Store Review
In my personal collection of Chinese films, 'For The Children' was the biggest surprise of all. This emotional drama is a film that is a multi-award winning and unexpected work of art that will sneak up on you and take hold of you before you realize it. The actresses in this film not only perform on the screen but seem to reach out to your heart. The Director does a special thing with music and fadeouts that captures your soul and it keeps the movie rolling at a fast pace. By the end of the movie, you're not only overcome with emotion, but reeling at what just happened. As a man, I thought this was going to be a movie about children and I had no idea what was coming. This film has it all. Marriage, divorce, abortion, change, affairs, death, children, lonliness, fullfilment, failure, success, and so much more. Out of my entire Chinese film collection, only 'Raise The Red Lantern' can place higher. This is my second favorite film out of my entire collection and I believe that so much, that I have given it as a gift to many people in my life. This is a film that will make you laugh, cry, and most of all, reach inside of yourself and make you appreciate your life. The two leading actresses are amazing and its for men and women to enjoy. This film is a treasure and can be included on the best of the best list. 'For The Children' accomplished something extreamly unique which was to win Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. That is amazing! This is a five star film and an example of pure cinema excellence. 'For The Children' is a treasure of a film and I must insist you add this special movie to your Chinese Film collection.
TO LIVE | Chinese Film
Actress Gong Li. Actor Ge You. Director Zhang Yimou. Chinese language with English subtitle option. This epic saga from the director of Raise The Red Lantern follows four generations of one family as they struggle through the turbulence of 20th-century China. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. This film can be compared to a film like Gone With The Wind. It spans over four decades from the 1940's to the 1980's. The film shows and teaches you Chinese culture and events such as the Japanese invasion and personal loss. In the 40's, in China, Fugui is a gambler. His wife Jiazhen (Gong Li) can not stand it any longer and leaves. He loses everything, and creates puppet shows to survive. Jiazhen comes back. This is a historical chronicle of China from the 40's to the 80's, the story of the family of Fugui and Jiazhen. Also a study of how history can randomly affect people and their lives. The battle becomes simply just To Live.
Little China Store Review
To Live is in the top five of my personal Chinese film collection. This emotionally deep drama sets a standard for excellence and detail. Gong Li once again displays her remarkable acting ability. When Gong Li someday wins her lifetime achievement academy award, this film will be one of the reasons. Her beauty is transcended through the screen in her youth at the beginning of the movie and then watch as the makeup technicians age her over four decades as the years go by. This movie is 2 hours and 15 minutes long and is a smartly written film. You will become absorbed in the characters and at times this exceptional film will make you laugh and in contrast will bring tears to your eyes. An especially notable scene accurs in the hospital when all of a sudden something has gone wrong with her daughter's pregnacy. Gong Li's character is hysterically crying holding her daughters hand on the hospital bed as the young girl begins bleeding to death right before her eyes and the survival of her daughter depends on a doctor who is in the other room unable to help after being almost starved to death by the Red Guard radicals. It's a deeply moving scene and only hope can save her only daughter. The deeply touching scenes in this film are many. For example on a dark night while Gong is working with her daughter replacing water bottles on doorsteps as work, she looks up to see her husband who was kidnapped by the Japanese army years before and as the two come together in a confluence of love, you hear her crying intensly which echos through the street as the neighbors slowly come out of their houses to watch. Her crying is so real and heart felt that it will move you deeply and bring tears to your eyes. To Live is simply under-rated and should be looked upon as a great Chinese film. Which characters will survive and who doesnt becomes the saga of this film. And when the credits roll at the end, you will be left with a feeling of mixed emotions. You will feel sadness for those who didnt make it and you will feel happiness for those who did and you will see how Gong Li, her husband and family fight for the right to live. To Live is a real treasure. This is a five star movie and highly recommended for not only being a great film but it will also introduce you to Chinese life during that era. The movie set is exceptionally detailed and the music will captivate your soul. This deeply touching film is for all ages.
THE ROAD HOME | Chinese Film
Actress Ziyi Zhang. Actor Honglei Sun. Director Zhang Yimou. Chinese language with English subtitle option. Romantic story of a lifelong love between a young woman and her dream man. The story is capped at the beginning and end with the present day story of a city businessman Luo Yusheng who returns to his home village in North China for the funeral of his father, the village teacher. He finds his elderly mother insisting that all the traditional burial customs be observed, despite the fact that times have changed so much. Yusheng realizes that his mother's wishes must be respected. On the day of the funeral more than one hundred of Changyu's former pupils turn up to carry the coffin and none of them will accept payment. Before returning to the city, Yusheng symbolically honors his father's dearest wish and he spends one day teaching in the village school.
Little China Store Review
This is one of my absolute favorite films. Remember when the Wizard of Oz started out in black and white and then color is introduced to tell the main story? This film does exactly the same thing. This is about a young girl named "Di" in the China countryside in her teens who meets the new school teacher and it's love at first sight. The hook in this fantastic film is her unbelievable obsession. All of us have dreamed of someone loving us to the point that they would die for us and Ziyi Zhang does just that. Almost comedic at times is her devotion of tracking his every move to the point where you go from smiling at her successes and then suddenly tears when she fails. Ziyi Zhang is known for being Sayuri, the beautiful star in Memoirs of a Geisha. This film here is more of a simplistic plot that makes you start cheering her on for her love for this man. At times during this film, this young girl wearing her red coat hides in the warm springtime fields for just a sight of him and as the months go by you find her again standing silently in a freezing cold snow blizzard waiting for him to return to her village and it torches right down into your heart. Her carefree innocence of a young woman running down the road filled with romantic joy effects her every thought as she becomes overwhelmed with the introduction of feeling love for the first time in her life. During an era when arranged marriages were the norm, the entire community becomes aware that this is real love and that was unheard of at the time. The Road Home is under-rated and unknown and a real treasure. As a man, I would say every woman or young girl will relate to this film and yes, men will like it too. It's not mushy. It's cat and mouse and charming. Another of Director Zhang Yimou's wonderful creations. This is a five star movie and great film for all ages. This is a special film and a treasure.
1) Di Experiences Love At First Sight 2) Di Walks By School House 3) Di Hides In The Fields
4) Di Receives Basket From The Teacher 5) Di Receives A Gift 6) The Bowl Breaks
7) The Bowl is Repaired 8) Di Decorates School House 9) School House Windows
10) Di Walks In Snow Blizzard 11) Di is Sick 12) Di Falls In The Snow 13) The Teacher Returns
NOT ONE LESS | Chinese Film
Actress Wei Minzhi. Actor Zhang Huike. Director Zhang Yimou. Chinese language with English subtitle option. Not One Less is an original, extremely affecting story of a small Chinese village and the children that inhabit it. When an elementary school teacher leaves her assignment to care for her ill mother, the community leader allows a 13-year-old girl, Wei Minzhi, to take her place. After the class clown is forced to leave the village in order to find work, Wei Minzhi organizes a fundraiser that will give her enough money to track him down and return him to his rightful place back in the classroom. This film proves that determination and will can conquer any odds.
Little China Store Review
This film is excellent, moving and heart felt and one of my favorite films. A Sony Pictures Classic. This film I have given as a gift several times and is a wonderful movie. Not One Less surprised me in making my personal collection. No internationally well known stars, this film slowly builds into a search and find mission and humbles the class clown into begging for food lost in a big city. If thats not enough, this young 13 year old girl takes it upon herself to find him without food to eat and almost no money to her name. This girl ends up sleeping on the street waiting for days asking everybody for help. The film seduces you when you realize that all her attempts to find the young boy are failing and you find your heart hurting for this situation. You watch the transition of this once trouble maker 10 year old boy become a hungry boy, alone and lost and finally seeing his older 13 year old teacher on television in tears begging for him to come home and nervous around TV cameras, eventually asking "Where did you go"? This film is for all ages and a real feel good movie. Another of Director Zhang Yimou's wonderful creations. I only keep the best movies in my personal collection and Not One Less is one of my treasures. Great film!
ELECTRIC SHADOWS | Chinese Film
Chinese language with English subtitle option. Electric Shadows is about the relationship between a mute woman and a young delivery boy. After a violent incident brings them unexpectedly together, the two discover their shared love of movies, which helps each of them uncover the stories of their own pasts.
Little China Store Review
Electric Shadows is a nice film based on a little girls relationship with a boy and they become best friends as little kids. Then, life seperates them. Then as fate would have it, now in their early 20's, working as a bike delivery boy, he crashes and accidentilly kills a girls dog. Without blinking an eye, she picks up a brick and bashes him in the head. After he gets out of the hospital, he discovers that this girl is his long lost childhood friend. To complicate matters she has become deaf and estranged from her parents who she has been secreatly watching through a telescope from her high-rise apartment. Her obsession with theater is a backdrop to the story. This is a nice feel good story when the young man coordinates a reunion with everybody involved. The story starts out 20 years earlier with her mom wanting to be a movie star but her career dreams are ruined when she gets pregnant and then has to raise her child as a single mother in an era when that was looked down upon in China. This wonderful film will be a nice addition to your Chinese film collection. For all ages.
BREAKING THE SILENCE | Chinese Film
Actress Gong Li. Chinese language with English subtitle option. Breaking the Silence tells a story of single mother Sun Liying, who is obliged to work hard to bring up her deaf son Zheng Da. To enable her son to attend a normal school, she quits her well-paid job and delivers newspapers so that she can have more time to practice speaking to the son. Best Actress at Golden Rooster Awards 2000, Best Actress at Montreal World Film Festival 2000, Netpac Award at Hawaii International Film Festival 2000.
Little China Store Review
This is a good film with another good performance from Gong Li. This film is a mellow story that I liked a lot. It really shows how much heartache a parent has to deal with watching their child go through the challenges of being handicapped. This is a side of Gong Li we have not seen much as she faces a situation which she has very little control over the outcome. She buys her deaf son a hearing-aid which then needs replacing and her financial troubles force her to go through great challenges to buy a second one. She doesnt give up and teaches her child that he must not give up either. This is a nice film to watch and I recommend it for anybody, especially families that face challenges like her situation. Nice film for all ages.
THE STORY OF QIU JU | Chinese Film
Actress Gong Li. Director Zhang Yimou. Chinese language with English subtitle option. A clash between Qiuju's husband Qinglai and the village head Wang Shantang leads to a fight in which Qinglai is injured. Qiu thinks Wang owes her husband an apology, but the village head, whose pride has been hurt by a remark made by Qinglai, remains unrepentant. When Qiuju takes the matter up with the police, Constable Li Shunlin attempts mediation between the parties. Constable Li considers the matter settled when Wang agrees to pay Qinglai's medical bills. Considering it insufficient redress, Qiuju returns the money and sues Wang. After a series of trips back and forth between the country and the city, her and her sister travel in the cold, selling food just to fund the trip, all while being pregnant. The case eventually goes to trial. But, suddenly, Gong Li almost dies while having her baby and the village chief jumps right in to save her life. This creates a surprise twist of an ending to the film when a surprise visitor arrives on the day of her baby celebration party.
Little China Store Review
This movie is a treasure! I have watched Gong Li play an Empress, a Geisha, a Concubine and many other roles but here she plays an ordinary Chinese village woman and she is excellent. One of the great aspects of this film is the feel that you are watching real life and not a film. It's almost as if the film was shot around regular people on the street during a normal day and it's so convincing, I believe it was. If this film didnt have Gong Li as the star, it may have been an ordinary production but because she played the star, she put this film on the map. One of my favorites in my personal collection, I would rank this film as one of her top 10 performances in her deep portfolio. It's not that the movie is anything extrodinary, its the fact that she plays the part so well that you find yourself fascinated at her acting ability. At times you almost have to remind yourself of what is going on because you can't help but become focused on Gong's performance. She dresses down for the part and plays a country village pregnant woman wearing traditonal country village clothes and for such a beautiful woman to play such a part so well, I give this movie 5 stars for her sheer acting ability. Some of the scenes where she goes into the city and is taken advantage of being over charged on purchases and when she thinks she has lost her sister are deeply touching. As I always say, when Gong Li cries, you may cry with her. Such an amazing actress. In the image below Gong has a tear coming out of her eye when she finds her sister because she thought she had lost her in the big city. A treasure of a film and is excellent, especially for Gong Li fans.
OASIS | Chinese Film
Chinese language with English subtitle option. A troubled young man in his twenties is released from prison only to commit social atrocities. He rapes a severely disabled woman who clearly cannot defend herself from the attack. Oddly enough, the woman ends up falling in love with him, and it turns out that he needs her too. Multi-award winning movie.
Little China Store Review
This movie is not for the faint of heart. The rape scene is not the issue here. This is really about watching how some disabled people are treated by their own families. After the first 30 minutes of this film, it transforms into this beautiful love story between a severly handicapped girl and a mentally challenged young man. The girl is very lonely and kept as a prisoner in her own home. The issue of the early rape scene is washed away as you realize that the boy didnt really know what he was doing. The two have a love affair and the girl finds love for the first time in her life, only to be found out by others and nobody knows or understands whats really happening. The film has an uncomfortable ending as you watch her only happiness being taken away from her simply because she is mute and cant speak or write. Everyone thinks she is a victim but she is actually happy but neither the boy or her are able to convey the truth to anyone due to their respective handicaps. This film is for adults due to the rape scene which is not graphic but still it exist so its not for children. For those who can handle deep emotion, this film is brave and special.
NEW YEAR SACRIFICE | Chinese Film
Chinese language with English subtitle option. The New Year brings little hope for an unfortunate resident of a mountainside home in eastern China. The woman has been left a widow after her husband dies. Sold by her mother-in-law, she subsequently faces an unpleasant passage through life until she unexpectedly meets and marries a gentle soul who seems to care for her. A child is born, but the storm clouds gather once again when her husband and offspring both book a premature date with the grim reaper. Now viewed with suspicion by the villagers, she is seen as an unlucky charm, and outcast from society. A moving, yet harrowing film, New Year Sacrifice lingers long in the memory after the final credits roll.
Little China Store Review
This film is a special treasure and places in the top five of my Chinese films. The first thing you must understand about this wonderful film is that it's a 1956 film. The story takes place in 1911. This is old school China. This film is one of my favorites in my personal collection and it is so touching and special that I insist that you obtain this movie for your Chinese film collection. This story is about the life of a woman and how simple random fate can effect a persons life. The woman, to no fault of her own, becomes a White Tiger which is doom for that era. Sold out for marriage for a small amount of money to her family, two dead husbands, her child is killed by a wild animal and the bad luck just continues to happen. This film is listed as one of the best 100 Chinese films of the 20th century and I agree. And just like the commerical review above, I agree, this movie stays with you long after you watch it. Especially after you watch all the terrible things that happen to her and you keep expecting a happy ending. But as she walks into the night and she is cold, hungry, alone, homeless and penniless in the dead of winter, in the cold snow, through her town, and nobody will help her, her fate awaits her. When the credits roll, you just shake your head in disbelief at what happens to her. This special film will wrench your heart and effect your emotions deeply and bring tears to your eyes. As a matter of fact, I dont think I have ever watched a film this old that effected me the way this film did. This film, "New Year Sacrifice" is a real treasure thats over 50 years old and has been colorized for the DVD release. If you have a Chinese film collection, it cant possibly be complete if you dont have this wonderful film. Highly recommended and should be on the list of one of the first films you should include in your collection.
CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER | Chinese Film
Actress Gong Li. Director Zhang Yimou. Chinese language with English subtitle option. Curse of the Golden Flower is a dazzling, visually stunning film. Calling again upon the talents of the striking Gong Li, Yimou tells an epic tale of lust and power set in the opulent world of the Later Tang dynasty. The plot follows the story of the Emperor (Chow Yun Fat) and his Empress (Gong Li) and the tragic disintegration of their royal family whose problems go far beyond the merely dysfunctional. For starters, the ailing Empress has long been having an affair with her stepson, the Crown Prince Wan (Liu Ye). Unbeknownst to her, Wan has been dallying with the Imperial Doctor's daughter (Li Man), and has plans to escape the palace with her. Meanwhile, the Emperor himself has just returned from a long trip, and while relations with his wife are obviously icy, it becomes clear that his plans for her are far more ominous than she could ever imagine. Everyone involved has a secret plan for either escape or domination, resulting in an explosive ending wherein the darkest family secrets are revealed and horrifically bloody battles are waged both inside and outside the walls of the sparkling, gold-encrusted palace.
Little China Store Review
Curse of the Golden Flower is a big production battle scene movie that is set in an era about 1000 years ago. It's a cool movie and as usual, Gong Li is her spectacular self playing an Empress. There are some special effects during the fighting battle scenes and for this type of film category, it's certainly the best I have watched. If you have ever seen the film "300", it's that level of effects but this is on a much larger scale. As you watch the film you learn all of the underlying relationships going on and you get excited knowing that at some point, all of the characters in the film are going to learn those secrets as well and you wonder what all that anger is going to cause when everybodys secrets are exposed. This film also has the absolute best Ninja's I have ever seen on film. In one scene a woman is on a horse trying to escape and she rides through a dark mountain pass at night when all of a sudden, teams of black dressed Ninja's swoop down on her from 100's of feet in the air on cables that are attached to the mountain sides. The cables are a great prop because it's realistic as opposed to some movies that are pure fantasy where people fly around in the sky. The special effects in this film are kept to a minimum to promote a more realistic film and although some CGI graphics for the large battle scenes are used, the movie does a good job of 'keeping it real'. And once again, Gong Li's fate is always a wild one in almost every film she performs in and the end of this movie is as fun as the movie is to watch. The film set is exceptional with stunning gold and multi-colored scenes. Good film for guys and women who like fights and battle scenes.
BLIND MOUNTAIN | Chinese Film
Chinese language with English subtitle option. Known for making films that expose the corrupt, seedy underbelly of modern China, director Li Yang comes out with Blind Mountain. This harrowing drama follows a college student who finds herself kidnapped and sold as a bride.
Little China Store Review
This movie is an intense drama and one of my personal favorites in my Chinese film collection. I personally like Chinese village movies the best of all and this is in that category. Unlike most films which take place early in the 20th century, this films story takes place in the early 1990's. This is a film about a young woman who is kidnapped into an old school remote Chinese village upon where she discovers that she has been purchased as a wife and forced via rape into having a baby and held prisoner. She also learns that there are several other woman that have been held for years there in the same situation. She is tricked into going to the village by a girl her own age who introduces her to a man in the city who pretends to hire her to sell medical supplies to remote villages with the promise of making a good living in sales. The film's plot is about escape. She tries to escape many times only to fail over and over again. Her letters to the mailman are intercepted, when she runs away on foot she is chased down and even when she makes it all the way to the city, the bus she is escaping on is stopped and she is removed. Finally her father receives a letter that she was able to mail using a small child who directly mailed the letter at the post office instead of using the corrupt mailman and he comes to take her home only to be stopped by the local police because they want to investigate the situation more and because the police themselves fear the villagers. Now the father and his daughter are stuck in the village with the weak promise from the police that they will return in a few days. What happens next will leave you breathless for a few seconds as the daughter who watches her father being beaten on by the kidnapper husband who stole her decides she has had enough of it all and in the blink of an eye, her rage takes over. This is an excellent film and an education into the darkside of some very remote China areas of that era. This movie is for adults only. Not for children due to the adult content that takes place all through the film.
MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA | Japanese Film
Actress Gong Li. Actress Ziyi Zhang. Actress Youki Kudoh. Actress Michelle Yeoh. [ Actress Suzuka Ohgo *added to this commerical review by Little China Store ] English language film. Nominated for six Academy Awards winning three. Arthur Golden's blockbuster bestseller, Memoirs of a Geisha, has been brilliantly brought to the big screen by Oscar-nominated director Rob Marshall. Music Soundtrack John Williams. The film opens in a remote Japanese fishing village in 1929, where two sisters, Chiyo and Satsu, are sold by their troubled father to people who place Chiyo in a classy geisha house known as an okiya in Gion and Satsu in a much more vulgar and dangerous district. Chiyo becomes a maid to Hatsumomo, a cold, controlling, and calculating geisha who is instantly jealous of Chiyo's unusual, beautiful eyes and childish innocence. Chiyo is befriended by Pumpkin, another maid at the okiya, but the two are soon driven apart. Chiyo is shown compassion by the Chairman and another, more successful geisha, Mameha, who takes her under her wing as her "little sister," furthering the battle between Chiyo, now called Sayuri, and Hatsumomo. As Sayuri is trained in the art of being a geisha, learning how to walk, talk, dance, and serve in order to please and honor her distinguished male clients, World War II looms on the horizon, threatening to upend Japan and its old ways. Memoirs of a Geisha is a lush, sweeping historical and romantic epic, featuring gorgeous period costumes, primarily the exquisite kimono worn by the geisha. Ziyi Zhang is outstanding as Sayuri, who stands up to the oppressive Hatsumomo (Gong Li), while Michelle Yeoh, as the wise and elegant Mameha. Ken Watanabe, Koji Yakusho, and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa are among the men who take an interest in Sayuri, who is continually faced with difficult choices that will shape her destiny, just as Japan's destiny is changing shape with the coming of the West. John Williams's soaring score is enhanced by solos from virtuosos Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman.
Little China Store Review
Well, where do I begin? This is an excellent best of the best film. Although this is a Japanese story, I have it included in my collection simply because in my personal opinion, this is a masterpiece. I read the book first and that inspired me so much, I took a six month detour from my Chinese studies to study the Japanese Geisha specifically in depth. I became so knowledgable that I could name every piece of clothes and hair ornament they wear and what each one indicates relative to colors, style and purpose. The sheer complexity of dressing a Geisha is more challenging than building a computer network. To explore their 400 year history and even obscure evolutions such as 'Tangerine 9' is an historic road involving many avenues. Memoirs of a Geisha is a snapshot of time around 1940 and hits on a lot of areas for that era. I will say that the book had a few extra topics that were to much for the big screen to handle so I would recommend that as well. The book will go into great detail about Dr. Crab and you will find he is somewhat of an outside-the-box-deviant to say the least. His 'collection' is very cherry. (inside joke for those who have read the book). So, when you place Asia's best actresses all together in one film and make two of them rival characters, the results are amazing. Of my Japanese films, which I have very few of in my collection, this is the best of the best by far. Gong Li who is Chinese, (who is married in real life and recently moved to Singapore) plays a Japanese Geisha and speaks perfect english in this film. This woman is amazing. But she is just one of the gems in this film. You will adore little nine year old 'Chiyo'. You will be escorted by the female narrator. You will love to hate Gong Li's character 'Hatsumomo'. You will bond with many characters in the movie. Ziyi Zhang's absolute best work of her life. At one point she does a dance on stage for the Spring Festival and let me tell you it's breathtaking. She did great in 'The Road Home' which is one of my Chinese film treasures. She does equally as good or better in this film. Clearly, Gong Li is the polished actress in this film, but that takes nothing away from the rest of the cast. Also, let me highlight 'Suzuka Ohgo'. She is the little girl who plays Chiyo, who eventually grows up to be a Geisha, which is Ziyi Zhangs role as the adult Chiyo known by her Geisha given name "Sayuri". This little girl should have won an Academy Award. I have never seen a child actor in a role where I thought they deserved an Academy Award, but now I have and it's Suzuka Ohgo. Best performance I have ever watched on screen by a child. This film is a five star film. This film can be included on the best of the best list. This film ranks up with films like 'Raise The Red Lantern'. For all ages young and old, male or female. This movie is mystical and will give you chill's down your spine from the unbelievable Academy Award winning 'Memoirs Of A Geisha' music. The set is big production first class. This movie is a must see and an education into the exclusive world of the Japanese Geisha.
Link TV | Geisha Training in the 21st Century | Aired in 2009 | Email firstname.lastname@example.org to buy video.
PICTURE BRIDE | Japanese Film
Actress Youki Kudoh. English language. Winner of the Audience Award for Best Dramatic Picture at Sundance, this period romance follows the saga of a young Japanese girl who becomes a "picture bride" for a Hawaiian sugarcane worker following her parents' deaths. Arriving in Hawaii to discover her fiance has deceived her with an old photo, she nonetheless fulfills her duty, eventually admitting her own deception and learning to accept her life. Winner of the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival.
Little China Store Review
This film is a charmer. I only offer a few Japanese films that I feel are special movies and this one is excellent. It's a great film with some deeply sad moments that will touch your heart. I pull this film out every few months to watch it again. The actress Youki Kudoh who played 'Pumpkin' in 'Memoirs of a Geisha' is to say the least adorable and elegant and has a personality that will make you feel for her situation and bring a tear to your eye. Within the first minutes of the film you will be hooked by her delicate and fragile presence. Being matched up with a stranger more than twice her age, she's unhappy at the harsh living conditions and is convinced she will get back to Japan only to soon realize that she will never be able to raise the money and even if she did make it back, there would be nothing to go back too. She then comes to the realization that she is stuck and has no options. She finally melds into the life of the other immigrants and finds herself acting and living as the others. She gets help at dealing with the situation as her and another girl bond into good friends before tragedy strikes. The sadness of this epic tale is capped with a feel good ending which makes this wonderful film complete. Makes a nice gift for all ages, men and woman. This Japanese film will make a nice addition to your collection of foreign films.
CHINESE BOX | Chinese Film
Actress Gong Li. Actor Jeremy Irons. Actress Maggie Cheung. Musician Ruben Blades. English. Hong Kong-born American director Wayne Wang. In 1997, with the city on the verge of the British handing the colony back to the Chinese, he returned for a different look. In Chinese Box, Jeremy Irons plays John, an English journalist moving among the Chinese business elite and British officials at expensive nightclubs. The politics of transition are seen through the prism of his personal relationships. He is in love with Vivian played by Gong Li, a woman he meets in Beijing who's now working at a club owned by Chang, a Chinese man she wants to marry seemingly for his status, not so much love. But Chang wants to become respectable and won't marry her because of her checkered past. After a personal crisis, John goes out with a camcorder to capture images of the last days of British rule. He becomes fascinated by Jean, played by Maggie Cheung, a mysterious woman who hides half her scared face behind a scarf as she darts through the streets aggressively selling strange items. Played with a manic verve by martial arts star Maggie Cheung, Jean comes to represent everything that is strange and enigmatic about Hong Kong. Chinese Box is a thoughtful, realistic blend of individual lives set against a large historical backdrop.
Little China Store Review
There is something strangely addictive about this film. Maybe because I can relate to Jeremy Irons role falling in love with Gong Li. I've never had an actress effect me so deeply the way 'Li Gong' does. Gong is not only beautiful but with all her fame and wealth she conveys an almost shy and approachable sensitivity. Chinese Box displays a vulnerable Gong Li that touches on the pulse of realism giving you a sense that this characters role may be similar to what she is like in real life. The base story is about the ending of the ninty-nine year lease that the British had on Hong Kong in 1997 but the main story is about a British man who works in China and fall's in love with a Chinese woman played by Gong Li. There is more to this film than meets the eye. It offers several avenues of story-lines but the most interesting one is the deep love this man has for this woman. It has been said that once a man has experienced love with a Chinese woman from China, women from other cultures will no longer interest him which I believe to be true. That exact China asian seduction happens to this man. Asia's best actress Gong Li is stunningly beautiful in this film. Sexy Maggie Cheung plays a very interesting character and although she has very little to do with the main story her performance brings balance to the film. Maggie's character is enough to watch this film alone. I've watched many of Maggie's movies and although she is not the lead role in this film, I would say it's her best work. She plays a nomad and her injection into the story is memorable and will stick with you. Did I mention Gong Li is stunningly beautiful in this film? Oh, I did. Well, let me say it again. Gong Li is stunningly beautiful in this film. This is an excellent film for teens to adults and it's really good at giving you a feel for downtown Hong Kong.
This film has exceptional great music. Click here to listen to the Chinese Box Theme music.
TEMPTRESS MOON | Chinese Film
Actress Gong Li. Chinese language with English subtitle option. Lush, lyrical parable about the modernization of China, Temptress Moon is the story of Zhongliang (Leslie Cheung), a Shanghai gangster raised on the sumptuous rural estate of the powerful, opium-addled Pang family. As a boy, Zhongliang, promised the life of a student, becomes instead a servant for his sister and her drug-addicted husband and a playmate for Ruyi played by Gong Li, the female heir to the Pang dynasty. A permanent outsider, Zhongliang escapes the painful decadence of the Pang household and becomes a smooth-talking mobster, seducing women in the jazz-saturated clubs of 1920s Shanghai, but he is forced to face his past when hired to seduce and abduct Ruyi in a criminal attempt to gain control over the now vulnerable Pang estate. What begins as a routine seduction becomes more complicated when Zhongliang finds himself unable to escape his true feelings for Ruyi and crippling memories of his painful childhood. Cinematographer Christopher Doyle revels in the eclectic visual spectacle of a tradition-bound China cracking and hatching its version of the jazz age. Li and Cheung turn in inspired performances, their palpable onscreen chemistry igniting director Chen Kaige's magnificently detailed historical epic.
Little China Store Review
This film is a classic Gong Li type movie wherein her presence in the movie brings intensity and emotion. This movie is an intense romantic love story and stars two actresses from Raise The Red Lantern. A man who comes to deceive Gong Li is slowly seduced by her and it changes his plans. A surprise ending brings Gong Li to an interesting state of mind. When you watch Gong Li in her movies, her fate always ends up being an interesting one and that exact situation happens in this cool film. Good film for teens to adult.
RED SORGHUM | Chinese Film
Actress Gong Li. Chinese language with English subtitle option. A forelorish, lyric epic movie mixed with harsh realism and patriotism. The background is a village in Northern China that only grows sorghum in the 1920s and 1930s. The story starts with a young bride being arranged to marry a fifty-year old man and became a widow and ran a sorghum winery. Japanese invasion destroyed the village and the story climaxed in Chinese resistance.
Little China Store Review
This is Gong Li's 1st film in 1987. This is old school china and a hard core story for those who like watching the classic Chinese films. It's a good film and for Gong Li fans, its a must for their collection. Gong Li is really young in this film and that alone is enough reason to get this movie. Good classic Chinese film.
JU DOU | Chinese Film
Actress Gong Li. Director Zhang Yimou. Chinese language with English subtitle option. An erotic tale of forbidden love as an embittered and impotent factory owner's battered bride and his overworked nephew secretly maintain a relationship until it seems murder is the only only way to be together freely. Ultimately, Ju Dou addresses the problems of China's feudal society in the 1920s. Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, and other major filmmakers spoke out against Chinese officials who attempted to censor the film and keep it out of theaters.
Little China Store Review
This is one of my favorite films. This film is an excellent intense drama and takes place in old school china. It's kind of in the realm of 'Raise the Red Lantern' except opposite of being in the upper class realm, instead in this film, Gong Li marries a man who lives in the countryside and has his own business dying materials many colors. The man is much older than she is and also very physically abusive to a torturous level. After the physical abuse continues, she falls in love with a younger workhand relative and they begin having an affair. They cant tell anybody. She gets pregnant but it's actually her lovers baby. This is where the story really starts to get bizarre. The mean older husband then has an incident where he is hurt and ends up crippled and can't walk. They build him a wooden bucket with wheels, a kind of a wheelchair, and he is really limited of what he can do and how he can get around. They begin flaunting their relationship in front of him for a bit of revenge. He cant do anything about it because he lives 90% of the time in the bucket and he can't get around. He will hear them laughing and in bed together and he tries to kill them several times. Ten years pass and the baby grows up to realize he is a product of an affair and surprisingly all of a sudden becomes a major part of the movie when he starts to get revenge on everybody involved. This film is a five star film. I would say its one of the top 10 films in my Chinese collection. A young Gong Li is exceptional and this is just another example of her excellence even in her early films. This is a well written movie and all around great classic Chinese film.
THE SEA IS WATCHING | Japanese Film
Japanese language with English subtitle option. Based on a screenplay by the late filmmaking legend Akira Kurosawa, Kei Kumai's The Sea is Watching follows the lives of women residing and working at a brothel in Edo-era Japan. Amidst the daily routines of tea and gossip, the ladies of the Ashi No Ya house, inevitably get emotionally involved with their clients. Young, naïve O-Shin (Nagiko Tohno) falls for an inexperienced samurai, even though he is from a higher social class. Meanwhile, her big-sister figure, Kikuno (Misa Shimizu), has both a thuggish boyfriend and a kind, older man vying for her affections. Eventually, Ryosuke (Masatoshi Nagase), a troubled wanderer, visits the brothel, and he forms an unlikely connection with O-Shin, one that may have a lasting effect on her life. Filmed entirely on a set that recreates pre-20th-century Japanese village life, The Sea is Watching focuses on the brothel and its denizens with a tight lens. Although the actors turn in good performances, the real stars of the show are the costumes and sets, which recall an era of Japanese history that few contemporary films touch on. Surprisingly romantic, this tribute to Kurosawa is an enjoyable outing, strengthened by Kumai's vivid vision of the past.
Little China Store Review
I really like this film! This film is so charming and special, I consider it one of my treasures. I only have a few Japanese films in my collection and this is 2nd only to 'Memoirs of a Geisha'. This story is about a house full of prostitutes who use Geisha fashion as a presentation device. Of course, real Geisha are not prostitutes, they are very talented artist and specialist of the highest quality of professionals that world history has ever produced ( known as the 'Flower and Willow World' [ the Living Flower ] ) and they also encompass traditional Japanese arts like painting, woodblock printing, tea house entertainment, writing, dancing, skilled communication experts, musicians and cultural traditions such as the tea ceremony. Many have fame such as Geisha Mineko Iwasaki of the 1970's and still today about 750 - 1000 exist in Kyoto Japan. But sometimes in history the fashion look of the Geisha has been used to attract customers for the male entertainment industries ( which the american military experienced during WWII ). This film is a mild drama that is romantic and comedic. These woman give you a look into their everyday life and you will watch as one girl falls in love with her customer and the result is not what she hoped for. Although humorous and entertaining at times, you wont actually laugh because the things that are funny are also sad. This is a really good film about female bonding but I would not classify it as a chic-flick because men will like it also. There are also some male battles that go on in the movie and unknowing to everybody in the story, the sea is about to wage war on their coastal town. In it's respective category it's a five star film. The Sea is Watching is a film you will watch and never forget. The ending of the movie comes with a little twist and as the credits roll, your not exactly sure of how you should feel. Very interesting film. Again, I will say that this film is a real treasure and highly recommended for teens to adults. Excellent film!
SHANGHAI TRIAD | Chinese Film
Actress Gong Li. Chinese language with English subtitle option. Uncle Liu brings his cousin to Shanghai to work for 'Boss,' the leader of a powerful drug empire in the 1930's. Shuisheng, a simple country boy is awed and overwhelmed by the opulence and immense wealth he is suddenly surrounded by. He is to be the attendant of Xiao Jingbao, the new mistress of 'Boss.' While he fumbles with the demands of his new role, much intrigue is going on around him, well beyond his bewildered perception. Xiao Jingbao is having a tumultuous affair, Fat Yu is starting a gang war, and 'Boss' is beginning to suspect that one of his trusted men is not loyal.
Little China Store Review
Attention Gong Li fans! This film must be in your collection! Why, you ask? Is it because it's a great film? No. I mean yes, it's a good film. But thats not the reason. Is it because it is about gangsters in old school china in the 1930's era? No, thats not the reason. So, what is it you ask? I'll tell you. Gong Li sings and dances on stage with that smart-alicky attitude and she is wearing a playful skimpy outfit and THAT is all the reason you need to get this film. Trust me. Even if you get the film and dont like it, you will watch the two perfomance scenes over and over again! Gong is quite the sexy ham in this movie and it is a keeper! The movie eventually ends up in the countryside on an island and the film takes a completely different feel away from the city and gangsters. She has money because of her lover gangster and is living next to a poor woman and her daughter. Her narcissistic behavoir is so bad you just want to reach through the screen and slap her. This movie is average but Gong's performance is exceptional and worth every penny. Good film for everyone and I think men will really like it. Highly recommended.
KWAIDAN | Woman In The Snow | Japanese Film
Winner of the Special Jury Price at Cannes, 'Kwaidan' features four nightmarish tales in which terror thrives and demons lurk. Adapted from traditional Japanese ghost stories, this lavish, widescreen production drew extensively on Kobayashi's own training as a student of painting and other fine arts.
Little China Store Review
Kwaidan is an early 1960's Japanese film. The reason I felt it needed to be included in our selections is based on several issues. First, it was the most expensive Japanese production ever produced for it's era. Secondly, I have never seen anything like this film. It's a combination of artwork and acting pulled together to create very unique sets in the cameras eye. It's like watching a fantasy world on the screen. I have never experienced this strange type of visuals in a movie. It's real life acting with a canvas painted world. It took me several times of watching the film before I started to understand what exactly my eye was seeing. The style is similar to the Chinese 'Red Movies' series of stage plays. The most important reason I felt it needed to be included is one of the four stories which is called 'Woman In The Snow'. The first time I saw this 45 minute film, it was the middle of the night on IFC. I could never get it out of my mind and about two years later I sent an email to IFC asking what it was. They researched their programming from two years earlier and suggested it was a film called 'Kwaidan'. I went online and found the 'Woman In the Snow' review and knew I had found it. The story is mystical and different from anything you have ever seen on film. It involves a man who encounters a woman in a terrible snow blizzard and he is forced into keeping a secret in exchange for his life. Rod Serling of the Twilight Zone would have liked to get his hands on this script as the man survives the snow blizzard and goes on to lead a normal life with a beautiful woman in the hills of ancient Japan. He marries her and has children and she becomes the fountain of youth of beauty. The women of the community yearn for her ever lasting beauty and the husband has a perfect life. This is during a time when a simple pair of hand made sandals for her feet is a grand gift. One evening in their world that is filled with love, he shares a secret with his beautiful gracious wife. That exposes an unexpected event. This movie, specifically this 'Woman In The Snow' feature, is truly in a category of it's own. I would say, it belongs on the top 10 list of Japanese Films of all time due to it's unique creativity.
WOODEN MANS BRIDE | Chinese Film
Set in the 1920s during China's Warlord Era, The Wooden Man's Bride is a romance film between two unlikely people from different classes. Chinese language with English subtitle option. A young woman, known only as "Young Mistress" (Wang Lan), is on her way to meet her future husband for the first time when her procession is attacked by sword-wielding bandits in the desert. A servant, Kui (Chang Shih) recklessly takes off after the bandits who have kidnapped the young mistress and taken her back to their lair. When he arrives, Kui impresses the chief of the bandits (Kao Mingjun), who allows Kui to take the Young Mistress back. Meanwhile, word has reached the Young Mistress's fiance of her capture. Preparing to engage in a thrilling rescue, the hapless young man accidentally sets off an explosion, killing him. When Young Mistress finally arrives, she faces her fiance's imperious mother (Wang Yumei), who forces the young woman to undergo arcane tests of purity to determine whether she is worthy to marry the (now dead) bridegroom. When Young Mistress passes these tests, she is forced to marry the titular "wooden man," a wood-carved statue of her late fiance. Forced into a life she does not want, Young Mistress tries and fails to escape from her new home. She finds solace in her growing friendship with her one-time hero, Kui, a friendship that soon blossoms into an illicit love affair. When the affair is discovered, Kui is banished from the mill, and Madame Liu has the Young Mistress's legs broken to prevent escape. Kui, however, is determined to rescue his love once more.
Little China Store Review
This film is excellent and old school classic China. This actually is starting to enter the collectible zone because it has been out of production since 2005. The leading actress in this film is actually a Gong Li look-alike. When I first watched it, I thought it was her. The story is unique and certainly not of a subject I have watched in any other film nor read about it in any of my Chinese studies. The other interesting feature about this film is that it has a real 'Raise The Red Lantern' feel to it. The era of the movie is the same, the actress is a Gong Li clone and the set is very similar. It's hard to find movies in the realm of 'Raise The Red Lantern' so this film fits very well with that type of category. The case cover you will normally find in the used market is of a camel and a woman but I actually have a different copy with Chinese lettering on the front put out by the Masterpiece Collection which I found from a Korean seller on eBay in 2009 who only had one copy available that I purchased which is the top cd case cover in our image below. This film makes a great addition to your Chinese film collection because of it's interesting storyline and rare existence in most peoples library of Chinese films.
RED MOVIES | People's Liberation Army War Movies of Beijing China | Chinese Opera
Chinese Red Movies are political plays about the People's Liberation Army during the Chairman Mao era.
Little China Store Review
If you have a Chinese film collection, the 'Red Movies' series must be included. Many were made around 1970 about various topics and to add a few to your library of films would really complete your Chinese cinema presentation list. These are musical plays performed on stage about two hours in length. If your like me, the thought of owning a musical opera is not something that sounds like a good idea but in this case, you can make an exception. First, the opera is not that shrill high pitched long winded singing like western operas. The music is made up of songs that are very short, very entertaining and fun to watch. The stories are excellent and even the English translation text which is often filled with typos and slight grammer errors are entertaining to read. When I watched my first movie, I didnt think I could last for more than 10 minutes and to my surprise, I watched the entire movie. They are excellent! The acting is great, the choreography is outstanding and the story lines are educational and interesting. I have watched 'The Red Lantern' and 'The Red Women Army' and both are exceptional works of art. Notable to these productions is the great acting as you watch a poor woman who was given money for the first time in her life and asked to join the Red Army and as the camera zooms in on her face you see her eyes water and real tears fall from her eyes. Very inspirational and expressive. Also notable is the first class dancing choreography that in my opinion, is better than we see today in music videos. When they do group fight scenes, you will be dazzled by the marshal arts and gymnastic athletic stunts. I would recommend these movies not only for their education and entertainment value but also because it's really fun to watch the Beijing China singing and dancing style of these classic one-of-a-kind unique movies.
Outside The Box Notable China Storied Films
Thousand Pieces of Gold (1991) USA 1800's, Home Song Stories (2007) Australia 1960's
The Good Earth (1937) China 1930's, Farewell My Concubine (1993) China 1920's
Red Cherry (1996) Russia 1940's, The Lover (1992) French IndoChina 1920's
Happy Times (2000) China 1990's, Broken Trail (2006) USA 1800's