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No CNY plans? Here are 7 Chinese films to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit

by Joyce Remo

DIFFERENT Asian countries with ties to Chinese culture celebrate Chinese New Year differently. While most Chinese people go to temples to traditionally enjoy the beginning of the new year, others stay at home to spend time with family and friends.

Aside from putting up decorations and eating reunion dinners, families may also chill on their couches and get immersed in these seven Chinese films to welcome the year of the water rabbit!

Wish Dragon

Released in 2021, Wish Dragon is a computer-animated film directed by Chris Appelhans. This Sony Pictures Animation film revolves around the story of a determined teen named Din, a working-class college student with big dreams but small means to reach them. 

This “genie-in-a-bottle” themed film follows the main character’s journey as he reconnects with his childhood friend through the help of the jobless dragon Long who gives three wishes to whoever holds the teapot he was imprisoned in.

The 98-minute animated film is centered on themes including friendship and materialism. Through the voices of Constance Wu, Jimmy Wong, John Cho, and Natasha Liu, Wish Dragon reminds viewers of the importance of being oneself and the sense of happiness that comes beyond materialism and wealth.

Return to Dust

Starring Wu Renlin and Hai Qing, Return to Dust is a 2022 film from the prestigious Berlinale Competition and is directed by Li Ruijun. 

The film narrates the story of two individuals, reticent farmer Ma and a disabled woman named Guiying, who were cast off by their families and were arranged to marry each other.

This absorbing drama portrays the rural life in China and frames how the downtrodden couple formed an unexpected bond in their attempt to build a home to survive life.

Nice View

Nice View is a heartwarming 2022 comedy-drama film directed by Wen Muye. 

The film tells the story of 22-year-old Jing Hao, portrayed by Jackson Yee, as he desperately seized several opportunities to pay for his sister’s surgery. 

Amid pressure for time and money, he takes a risky gamble that ultimately changes his life and affects the people around him.

This eye-opening movie shows the reality of the Chinese work culture and the obstacles faced by ordinary people as they try to survive their daily lives.

Centered on themes like family love and determination, the film provides a moving picture of a loving relationship between two siblings that transcends any difficulty that life throws at them.

One Week Friends

In One Week Friends (2022), a high school student suffers from a peculiar kind of amnesia that causes her memories to last for seven days at the most.

The main character, Lin Xiangzhi, has always been quiet, lonely, and doesn’t make friends due to her special illness. 

In an attempt to befriend Xiangzhi, Xu Youshu discovers her secret and decides to establish a “doomsday survival” team along with the rest of his friends. 

Together, the team creates surprises and memories that belong to them to help Xiangzhi.

With Chinese actors Angel Zhao, Lin Yi, Shen Yue, and Wang Jiahui, the film showcases a heartfelt connection between friends who are willing to go the extra mile to help each other. 

Man on the Edge

Set in 1997, the action-thriller film tells the adventures of a Hong Kong undercover policeman as he struggles to unearth the truth in a gang’s drug trafficking scheme.

With triad forces causing chaos in Hong Kong, a triad leader assigns the double agent as his right-hand man and tasks him to take charge of the drug trafficking business.

In the Mood for Love

Produced and directed by Wong Kar-wai, In the Mood for Love is a 2000 romantic drama that gained prominence due to its beautiful retelling of love and the concepts of intimacy, time, and distance.

Set in the early 60s, the film is a chronicle of friendship and infidelity, with two friends developing romantic feelings for each other after learning about their respective partners’ unfaithfulness to their wedding vows.

Kung Fu Hustle

The 2004 Cantonese action comedy film Kung Fu Hustle, which was directed, produced, and co-written by lead actor Stephen Chow, is probably one of the most famous Chinese films worldwide.

Kung Fu Hustle narrates the comedic tale of two wannabe gangsters as they try to scam Pig Sty Alley residents into believing that they are members of the dreaded “Axe Gang.”

With the real gang members descending on the Shanghai slum to restore the group’s dwindling reputation, three legendary Kung Fu masters prevent the interlopers from spreading chaos in the community.



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