Posts Tagged ‘best chinese films’

Best Chinese-Language Films of the 2000s: Poll Results

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010


In the Mood for Love by Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai topped the results of an international poll of the best Chinese-language films of the past decade, conducted by dGenerate Films. The poll included ballots from forty-seven filmmakers, critics, programmers and scholars from around the world. A total of 152 Chinese-language films were cited.

View the full list of ballots from all participants.

In the Mood for Love outpaced a field dominated by mainland Chinese titles, led by Wang Bing‘s seven-hour documentary West of the Tracks and Jia Zhangke‘s historical epic Platform. The two mainland titles are both independent productions made outside the official Chinese state system and have never officially screened in China. Yi Yi, by the late Taiwanese master Edward Yang finished fourth.

The top four titles were each mentioned in at least half of the forty-six ballots submitted by participants. Rounding out the top ten were Jia Zhangke’s Still Life at #5, Jiang Wen’s Devils on the Doorstep at #6, Liu Jiayin’s Oxhide, Lou Ye’s Summer Palace, and Jia Zhangke’s The World tied at #7, and Li Yang’s Blind Shaft and Ang Lee’s transnational blockbuster Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon tied at #9.

Jia Zhangke dominated among directors with seven films mentioned in the poll, three of which finished in the top ten. His films received nearly twice as many mentions as those of the second most-mentioned director, Wong Kar-wai. Works by Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang and Chinese director Lou Ye (who is officially banned from making films in China) also featured prominently in the results.

The results suggest a changing of the guard among mainland Chinese filmmakers over the past decade. The highest placing title by a Fifth Generation director was Zhang Yimou‘s Hero at #22. The eight mainland productions placing in the top eleven are from Sixth Generation directors such as Jia Zhangke or Lou Ye, or the post-Generational wave of digital filmmakers such as Wang Bing and Liu Jiayin. And yet, among these mainland films, only The World was approved by the state censors and released theatrically in mainland China.

Three of the top four films – In the Mood for Love, Yi Yi and Platform – have also placed prominently in polls conducted for all cinema of the past decade. The three films placed in the top ten of the Best of Decade Critics’ Poll run by IndieWire and in the top 11 of the poll run by Film Comment. But aside from Jia Zhangke’s films, the remaining titles on the list have fared poorly in these polls (West of the Tracks, #2 in this poll, places at #49 in IndieWire and #85 in Film Comment).

Oxhide, distributed non-theatrically in the U.S. by dGenerate Films, is the top ranking title by a female director. In addition to Oxhide, nine other dGenerate Films titles received mentions in the poll: Before the Flood (Li Yifan and Yan Yu); Betelnut (dir. Yang Heng); Crime and Punishment (Zhao Liang); Ghost Town (Zhao Dayong); Little Moth (Peng Tao); The Other Half (Ying Liang); Taking Father Home (Ying Liang); Timber Gang aka Last Lumberjacks (Yu Guangyi) and Using (Zhou Hao).

The full list of films, as well as top-ranking Chinese-language directors, can be found after the break. View the full list of ballots from all participants.


Zhang Xianmin’s Top Films of the Decade

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010
Zhang Xianmin (photo courtesy China Independent Film Festival)

Zhang Xianmin (photo courtesy China Independent Film Festival)

One of our most valued partners is Zhang Xianmin, who is nothing less than a maven of the Chinese independent film scene. For over fifteen years he has worked as an actor, producer, scholar, critic, and programmer on various projects related to Chinese cinema. He serves most prominently as the man behind the China Independent Film Festival, one of the key hubs of the Chinese independent film circuit. (Check back Friday for a report on last year’s Festival).

We are pleased to announce that Zhang will be contributing a number of articles to the blog this year. His writing will give a distinct perspective on the Chinese film scene. For now, here are his top 40 Chinese films from 2000-2009. They are organized in four categories: Narrative Features, Experimental, Shorts and Documentaries.

The results of the dGenerate Best Chinese Films of the 2000s poll will be published tomorrow.


Best Chinese-Language Films of the 2000s: One Voter’s Thoughtful Ballot

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Betelnut (dir. Yang Heng)

In conducting the one-of-a-kind poll of the Best Chinese-Language Films of the 2000s, we received ballots from nearly 50 participants from around the world, including filmmakers, programmers, critics and other experts. One of our participants, Peter Rist, who teaches at the School of Cinema in Concordia University, sent a particularly lengthy account of his rationale for his selections, which we felt deserve an entry of their own. We’re also pleased that he considered both Betelnut by Yang Heng and Oxhide II by Liu Jiayin worthy of his final ten, since dGenerate distributes both Betelnut and the first Oxhide film and consider Yang Heng and Liu Jiayin among the most exceptional young talents working anywhere today.

Here is Peter’s list – his commentary follows after the break, as well as a list of his best films of the decade from around the world.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the full results of the poll, compiled from all of our participants!


Zhantai (Platform), Jia Zhangke (P.R. China/Hong Kong/France/Japan)
Suzhou he (Suzhou River), Lou Ye (China/Germany)
Fa yeung nin wa (In the Mood for Love), Wong Kar-wai (Hong Kong/France)
Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks, Wang Bing (China), documentary, digital
Cha ma gu dao xi lie (Delamu), Tian Zhuangzhuang (China/Japan), digital, doc.
McDull, Prince de la Bun, Toe Yuen (Hong Kong), animation
Zui hao de shi guang (Three Times), Hou Hsiao-hsien (Taiwan/France)
Hei yan quan (I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone), Tsai Ming-liang
Binglang (Betelnut), Yang Heng (China), digital
Niu pi er (Oxhide II), Liu Jiayin (China), digital