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10 Most Highly Anticipated Chinese Films of 2021

Those keeping an eye out for Chinese cinema know that there is much to be excited about! After all, from dramas to mysteries to fantasies, there is just simply no shortage of fantastic films for audiences to look forward to. 

We’ve gathered ten of the most highly anticipated films to watch out for in 2021, according to China’s most popular movie review site Douban. Check them out here:


Detective Chinatown 3 movie poster. (Source: Sohu)

1. (唐人街探案 3) Detective Chinatown 3 

Release Date: February 12, 2021

This highly anticipated comedy-mystery film is the third installment of the Detective Chinatown series. Detective Chinatown 3 follows inspectors Tang Ren (Wang Baoqiang) and Qin Feng (Liu Haoran) as they’re invited to investigate a crime in Tokyo. Somehow, this leads to a battle between the strongest detectives in Asia. 

Director: Chen Sicheng


A Writer’s Odyssey movie poster. (Source: Xinhua)

2. 刺杀小说家 (A Writer’s Odyssey)

Release Date: February 12, 2021

Adapted from the short story “Assassination of the Novelist” by Shuang Xuetao, A Writer’s Odyssey is a drama-fantasy film that depicts the story of Lu Kongwen (Dong Zijian), the author of a fantasy novel series, as he follows a heroic teenager also named Kongwen. Together, they embark on a quest to end the tyrannical rule of Lord Redmane. However, the events of the fantasy novel somehow affect the real world, leading Guan Ning (Lei Jiayin) to accept a mission from Tu Ling (Yang Mi) to assassinate the author. 

Director: Lu Yang


Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue movie poster. (Source: IMDb)

3. 一直游到海水变蓝 (Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue)

Release Date: TBA

This documentary film follows Jia Zhangke as he chronicles a local literature festival in his hometown, Shanxi. Narrated by three important novelists respectively born in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, the film unveils the 70-year spiritual history of the Chinese people. 

Director: Jia Zhangke


Home Sweet Home movie poster. (Source: My Drama List)

4. 秘密访客 (Home Sweet Home)

Release Date: May 01, 2021

Home Sweet Home is a mystery-drama thriller that depicts a father (Aaron Kwok), a mother (Tiffany Hsu), and two children (Zhang Zifeng and Rong Zishan) enjoying happy and content lives. However, when a mysterious visitor (Duan Yihong) starts to live in their basement, strange events start to occur, and their lives are turned upside down. 

Director: Leste Chen 


Deep Sea movie poster. (Source: Zhihu)

5. 深海 (Deep Sea)

Release Date: TBA

Filled with wonderfully fantastical visuals, Deep Sea is a sci-fi suspense animated film that tells the tale of a girl who explores a mysterious underwater world and undertakes a unique life journey. 

Director: Tian Xiaopeng


The Yin Yang movie poster. (Source: My Liker)

6. 侍神令 (The Yin Yang Master)

Release Date: February 12, 2021

Serving as an adaptation of the popular mobile game Onmyōji, The Yin Yang Master is a drama-fantasy film that covers the story of Yuan Boya (Qu Chuxiao), a city guard who was stripped of his rank after failing to guard his imperial tribute from thieves. Determined to get the stolen tribute back, he winds up entangled with Yin Yang Master Qing Ming (Chen Kun), who has a feud with both the human and demon worlds. The two work together to solve an old mystery, inadvertently unraveling a conspiracy that aims to revive the Demon King to destroy humanity.

Director: Li Weiran


Love Song 1980 movie poster. (Source: My Drama List)

7. 恋曲1980 (Love Song 1980)

Release Date: October 31, 2020 

Having had premiered at the Tokyo International Film Festival, Love Song 1980 is a romantic drama film that explores stories of love and hatred in Beijing during the 1980s. Initially depicting the joys of one’s youthful years, the film follows Liang Zhengwen (Li Xian), who suddenly encounters tragedy, when his brother accidentally drowns in a lake. In the midst of radical social changes that took place in the decade, Liang Zhengwen enters his college life in deep grief, where he once again meets old and new friends. 

Director: Mei Feng


The Best is Yet to Come movie poster. (Source: My Drama List)

8. 不止不休 (The Best is Yet to Come)

Release Date: September 9, 2020

The Best is Yet to Come is an international award-winning drama film that is inspired by a true story of a newspaper intern who struggles with ethical dilemmas. Set in 2003, the film trails after Han Dong (Bai Ke), a young and gifted writer who leaves a stable job in his hometown to pursue his journalist dreams in Beijing. Employed as an unpaid intern at Jingcheng Daily, Han Dong one day uncovers a story that leaves him struggling to choose between survival and the truth.

Director: Wang Jing


The Weary Poet movie poster. (Source: My Drama List)

9. 诗眼倦天涯 (The Weary Poet)

Release Date: TBA

When swordsman Wen Sanchun is on the run from assassins, he is saved by a wandering hero named Ye Motian. In this action-filled wuxia film, Wen Sanchun (Zhou Xun), a trusted subordinate of the crown prince, and Ye Motian (Chen Kun), the foster son of a rebel commander, face a deadly struggle as wanted criminals of the land. 

Director: Xu Haofeng


Moses on the Plains movie poster. (Source: My Drama List)

10. 平原上的摩西 (Moses on the Plains) 

Release Date: TBA

Based on a popular novel of the same name by Shang Xuetao, Moses on the Plains is a suspenseful crime-drama film that is set in China’s hardscrabble industrial northeast region. It tells the story of Zhuang Shu (Liu Haoran), a young police officer who investigates the murder of a taxi driver, only to discover a childhood friend (Zhou Dongyu) is involved. To solve the case, Zhuang Shu uncovers the events of a past that had been buried more than twelve years ago. 

Director: Zhang Ji


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