TV shows on Netflix is way too cliché. Next time it’s horribly polluted or
you’re just horribly lazy and want something that takes a bit of time, why not try
expanding your knowledge of Chinese cinema with these very full-length
A Touch of Zen
Hu’s 1969 three-hour-plus wuxia masterpiece A Touch of Zen is
most famous for its gorgeous style – the bamboo forest scene in Crouching
Tiger, Hidden Dragon was bitten straight from it – but it has a lot more to
offer than just pretty pictures of the Taiwanese countryside. In addition to
its trailblazing kung fu wire-work fight scenes, this is a movie that really
doesn’t waste its long run time. It moves from being a comic portrait of a hapless
scholar to an adventure about a runaway princess to expressing a Buddhist
feminist message through semi-psychedelic filmmaking without missing a beat.
A Brighter Summer Day
four-hour long neorealist examination of Taiwanese identity in the ‘50s might
sound like a slog, but believe us when we say it’s anything but. Edward Yang’s
masterpiece crafts an astonishing portrait of a moment in the island’s complex
history with a mix of vicious gang fights, young lust, Cold War politics,
teenage disaffection, pint-size rock-and-roll crooners, and more.
a sojourn in Hollywood making movies of successively decreasing quality, action
trailblazer John Woo found his way back to Asia with his most epic film to
date. Set in the lead-up to the Three Kingdoms era, Red Cliff featured a
ton of stars and some huge battle setpieces. Released in two parts totalling
over four hours altogether, Red Cliff’s ambition paid off, with the
movie breaking records at the Mainland Chinese box office.
West of the Tracks
do you have nine hours to spare? Then we’ve got the perfect documentary for
you! Wang Bing’s West of the Tracks is a three-part, nine-hour look at
the economic devastation wrought on a portion of Shenyang by China’s shift away
from state-run industry. Despite its grim topic and forbidding length – or
perhaps because of them – the film has become a critical darling, making it all
the way to number six on our list of Mainland China’s 100 best films.