Ready for a cozy night in at home? For those interested in Chinese cinema and for those wanting to try out something new, we’ve taken the liberty of listing down the top ten highest rated Chinese-language films according to Douban, China’s most popular film review aggregator site!
10. 夺冠 (Leap)
Lit: To Seize the Crown
Leap is a biographical sports film that covers the stories of the Chinese women’s national volleyball team over the course of more than 40 years. In addition to starring Gong Li and Huang Bo, the film’s cast features 10 out of 12 Olympic gold medalists from the 2016 Rio Olympic team, as well as several other professional volleyball players.
Director: Peter Chan
9. 我和我的家乡(My People, My Homeland)
Lit: Me and My Hometown
My People, My Homeland is a five-story comedy anthology film that explores feelings towards one’s home and country, as told from the perspectives of various communities across China. The stories take place in Beijing (“Beijing Good People”), Guizhou (“UFO Fell From the Sky”), Shaanxi (“Last Lesson”), Hangzhou (“The Way Home”), and Shenyang (“Ma Liang”).
Directors: Deng Chao, Xu Zheng, Ning Hao, Fei Yan, Damo Peng, Yu Baimei, and Chen Sicheng
8. 半个喜剧 (Almost a Comedy)
Lit: Half of a Comedy
Starring Ren Suxi (Mo Mo), Wu Yuhan (Sun Tong), and Liu Xun (Zheng Duoduo), Almost a Comedy tells the story of three young adults as they navigate their way through struggles in romance and life. One wants to say goodbye to singlehood, one wants to have an exciting last night before getting married, and one wants to establish a firm footing in the large city of Beijing. Together, their stories paint a frantic life that looks almost like a comedy.
Directors: Liu Lu, Zhen Shou
7. 热带雨 (Wet Season)
Lit: Tropical Rain
Wet Season is a Singaporean drama film that depicts a special relationship between a teacher and a student. Ling (Yeo Yann Yann) is a Malaysian-Chinese teacher who struggles to conceive via in vitro fertilization with her husband Andree (Christopher Lee). In the midst of these hardships, Ling develops a deep bond with her student Wei Lun (Koh Jia Ler).
Director: Anthony Chen
6. 八佰 (The Eight Hundred)
Lit: Eight Hundred
Known as the highest-grossing film of 2020, The Eight Hundred is a historical war drama film that illustrates the Battle of Shanghai, where 800 Chinese soldiers defend a warehouse on a battlefield completely surrounded by the Japanese army.
Director: Guan Hu
5. 叔·叔 (Suk Suk / Twilight’s Kiss)
This award-winning and critically acclaimed Hong Kong drama tells the tale of two secretly homosexual men who have reached their twilight years. One day, Pak, a 70-year-old taxi driver, and Hoi, a 65-year-old retired single father, meet in a park. The encounter prompts them to recount their personal pasts, as well as to consider a possible future together.
Director: Ray Yeung
4. 金都 (My Prince Edward)
Lit: Golden Plaza
Set in Golden Plaza, a shopping mall known for its bridal shops and cheap wedding supplies in Hong Kong’s Prince Edward district, this film tells the story of Fong (Stephy Tang), a bridal shop employee who finds herself preparing for marriage together with Edward (Pak Hong Chu), the owner of a wedding photography store. Fong discovers that her sham marriage with a Chinese mainlander is still in place, leaving her frantic to dissolve it.
Director: Norris Wong
3. 一秒钟 (One Second)
Lit: One Second
Taking place in the province of Gansu, One Second is an art-house historical drama film that captures the story of two people who both aim to steal a newsreel for their own agendas. Zhang Jiusheng (Zhang Yi), an escaped prisoner, wants to steal the reel because one second of its footage contains the image of his daughter. Liu Guinu (Liu Haocun), a homeless girl, wants the reel because she wants to use it to create a lampshade for her younger brother.
Director: Zhang Yimou
2. 气球 (Balloon)
Balloon depicts the lives of a three-generation Tibetan family represented by a grandfather (Konchok), a father named Dargye (Jin Pa), and two sons (Druklha Dorje and Palden Nyima). Set in the early 1980s, the film illustrates the family tending to their herd of sheep. While the older men drink tea and talk, the two boys spy over them through the translucent skin of a white balloon that isn’t a balloon at all — it’s a condom found under their parents’ pillow.
Director: Pema Tseden
1. 阳光普照 (A Sun)
Lit: The Sunlight Shines Over All Things
This award-winning Taiwanese drama film follows a troubled family of four, which falls apart following the aftermath of their younger son’s incarceration. A-Wen (Chen Yi-wen), the father of the family, places all of his hopes on A-Hao (Greg Hsu), who is attempting to get into medical school. Meanwhile, A-Ho (Wu Chien-ho) disappoints his father when he faces juvenile detention for a crime.
Director: Chung Mung-Hong