MMTop10 : Chinese Movies
Ten movies we at Manhattan Mandarin have enjoyed, found useful for improving our Mandarin, and for 了解 -ing Chinese culture and history.
10] Dangerous Liaisons
Harry's Hot Take
We often tell students a good strategy for getting rid of their lao-wai accents is to pick a certain type of Mandarin-speaking voice and imitate it. While Dangerous Liaisons may not be considered the greatest film of all time, one of its character's has a great 帅哥 Shuai Ge voice: slow, deep, and sultry, all from the shuai face of a Shuai Ge. Become a Shuai Ge; lose the valley-girl accent that is maiming your tones.
Harry's Hot Take
Originally had Farewell My Concubine here, but that would've put one too many 'unhappy' films on the list. Journey to the West makes the list for nostalgia's sake, as this was the first movie I ever watched when beginning my own Mandarin studies. I thought I was about to watch something epic, but was pleasantly surprised to find myself laughing at the theatrical silliness of the film. The epicness can be saved for the eponymous 16th century classic novel.
8] Red Sorghum
Harry's Hot Take Zhang Yi Mo's debut as a director, and his first of many films with actress Gong Li. The humor and lightheartedness of the opening scene will all be gone by the end of the film, and for good reason. After the death of the husband her father had chosen for her, Jiu Er, played by Gong Li, takes over a distillery in Shandong. She has a child with one of those men pictured on the cover carrying her off to her yet-deceased husband. Their child will watch history bring tragedy to a place one would have thought adequately isolated to remain safe.