Guest Post: Get Romantic – Watch Chinese Love Films to Help You Learn Mandarin

I’ve always been a romantic at heart, which means when it comes to watching movies, I often opt for a good love story. That’s why I like this guest post from Yang, recommending four outstanding Chinese love films that could help you improve your Chinese at the same time.

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Watching a great love story at the movies or on TV with your loved one is not just fun. It’s also an enjoyable way for you to learn Mandarin and understand more about Chinese culture.

So, today, we are going to recommend some of the most popular Chinese romance based films for you to enjoy:

1. 甜蜜蜜(Almost a Love Story)

1. tian mi mi

This film was released in 1996, just before the return of Hong Kong to China and contains an all-star cast. Director Peter Chan is one of the most famous directors in Hong Kong for love stories. Leon Lai was one of the Four Heavenly Kings (ie one of Hong Kong’s most popular stars during the 1990s) and, in 1996, at the peak of his career. Maggie Cheung, an internationally known Hong Kong actress, also starred in this film, which reflected life in the last decade of the city’s colonial period. In addition, the film honours one of China’s most famous singers (Deng Lijun/Teresa Teng) who passed away in 1995; in fact, one of her songs, Tian Mimi, is often heard throughout the film. The film won numerous plaudits at the Hong Kong film awards in 1996 and became known as one of the classic romantic Chinese films.

2. 色戒 (Lust Caution)

2. se jie

Another great adventure film from Ang Lee, the Oscar winning Taiwanese director. In this film he works with Tony Leung, one of Hong Kong’s top actors, and also Tang Wei, who became a major star after this film. The film attracted a lot of “buzz” when it was released as, besides its famous director and actors, it is very violent with very realistic, often graphic, sex scenes, which are still rare in Chinese films. In any event, the film has been described as a very sophisticated love story.

3. 北京爱情故事(Beijing Love Story)

3. Beijing love story

This film was released with the same name as an earlier hit TV series (similar to Sex and the City) but was not just a predictable extension of the TV show. Rather, the film accurately portrayed both the happiness and typical problems of couples of different ages in China. It has been described as a warm and sensitive film. Another noteworthy point is that the actor/director and leading actress actually fell in love with each other and were married after making the TV show.

4. 那些年,我们一起追的女孩(You Are the Apple of My Eye)

4. na xie nian

If you watch any of the “campus love”/puppy love TV series and films being produced all over China currently, they probably originated as a result of the huge success of this film. The film was directed by Jiu Ba Dao, one of Taiwan’s famous authors, who decided to make a film to honor his teenage love in school. He did not have any prior directing experience and the leading actor and actress were also unknowns. However, when the film was released, it was an instant success, breaking records in Taiwan, Hong Kong and mainland China—making the lead actors in the film superstars, and encouraging others to produce similar films.

Undoubtedly you have your own favorite Chinese films and, whatever they are, we’re sure that watching Chinese movies will help you learn how to speak Chinese more effectively.

If you are a fan of Chinese movies, why not let us know which ones you have watched, or why you liked them. Or even email us to tell us which one is your very favorite; we’d love to know!

Yang is a serial web entrepreneur whose latest website is Yang is passionate about learning new languages and cultures. You can check out the recent Chinese learning research here: How to learn Chinese.

Speaking of China is always on the lookout for outstanding guest posts! If you have something you’d like us to feature, visit the submit a post page for details — and then submit yours today.

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13 Replies to “Guest Post: Get Romantic – Watch Chinese Love Films to Help You Learn Mandarin”

  1. I’ve watched “Lust, Caution”. I think it’s a good film and totally worth the watch. However, most of the “sex scenes” are considered rape, but I really don’t think of it as a love story though? People that watched the movie will get what I mean.

  2. I’m sorry for sounding stupid, but I honestly didn’t think China had or did modern day love stories. I guess its the fact that a lot of dramas/movies that come from China are very historical and focus a lot on history and special effects and so forth. Still, if everything will go okay, maybe it will be something I will introduce my child to in the future hehe 😀

  3. You Are the Apple of My Eye is kinda overrated, IMO. Two of my favourite romance films are 愛 (Love) and 向左走·向右走 (Turn Left, Turn Right).

  4. Great to have some Chinese film tips. Thanks and… Bring them on!
    In the past, I spent quite some time looking for the original version of 色戒 without being able to find it. I’m after the Chinese version with *Chinese* (not English) subtitles. I could not find it. If anybody knows where to get it from, do let me know. Legal ways only, please.

    1. “Cape No. 7” was not watched by more people, but I think it received better reviews from serious film critics.

  5. I recently watched 女朋友。男朋友 (Girlfriend, Boyfriend) from Taiwan and I loved the movie! It has some Mingnan dialect in it, with Chinese subtitles though.

  6. Great post Joycelyn. I would recommend the following movies:
    Days of Being Wild
    In The Mood for Love

    I still have yet to learn Chinese.

  7. I thought Lust, Caution was unforgettable… but horrifically depressing. I didn’t finish the movie feeling good at all. It is a brilliant piece of film making, but it’s kind of like Schindler’s List–you watch it once, and that’s all you can handle.

    Another mega China hit in terms of romance movies is 非诚勿扰 (If you are the one). It’s a really odd Feng Xiao Gang film, but it’s filmed in Hokkaido and it’s simply beautiful. An odd love story that is artistic and thought provoking.

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