Home / Living in China / Life in Pictures Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read | Comment
Super sinomatic
Adjust font size:

Chinese movies are often the first introduction to the Chinese language for foreigners. But with the exception of John Woo's bullet-dance action movies, and the beautiful work of Wong Kar-wai, many recent flicks served up to the West have been bad kungfu flicks or overly sentimental statement movies.

As a language learning tool, Chinese films are not bad, though one tends to learn things such as "Nide gongfu bu hao (Your kungfu is weak.)" before the more useful phrases such as, "Wo neng yao yibei kafei ma? (Could I possibly have a coffee?) "

Locally, the Chinese film industry is growing, bolstered by a major selection of foreign imports, from James Bond's latest Quantum of Solace to Madagascar 2: Escape from Africa.

This weekend there are more than 12 films screening around Beijing , five of which are western productions.

Whilst you may think it's great to see Bond battling baddies whilst you're in China, remember, that so do thousands of Chinese. So unless you want to see what Daniel Craig sounds like with a Mandarin dub, make sure you check with the ticket seller that the film is being shown in English (yingwen hai shi zhongwen? 英文还是中文的?)

The experience of each Beijing cinema can be very different, from the ultra modern, ultra western megabox cinemas that are springing up all over China, to the classic, far more theatrical layout revealed in China Film Company's (CFC) Jishuitan cinema.

The CFC cinema has a sound system that could well do with replacing, but the faded luxury of red velvet seating, a decently sized screen, and an enthusiastic audience actually makes it feel like going to the movies.

There is the added bonus that their referential standing means they sometimes get a film, months before anywhere else. The James Bond film was actually released in Beijing before its international screening.

You can also upgrade your seats. The East Gate Cinema in Sanlitun offers standard and deluxe seating, and serves up a "Qinglu" seats, comprising of an almost double wide seat at the side of the cinema, surrounded by a high screen on three sides. These are very popular for young couples but they don't offer the best views of the screen. Nobody seems to complain.

As with cinemas all over the world, snacks are overpriced, but if you can't walk past the popcorn counter without being tempted by the sweet aroma, be prepared to shell out 20 yuan for a bucket, and 10 yuan extra for a drink. Retaining just a little Chinese-ness, expect the concession stand to sell skewers of squid and pork, dried fruit, and even bottle of Tsingtao alongside the cola and milkduds.

Ticket prices can be a bit exclusive, ranging up to 80 yuan a ticket at some of the more fashionable places but cinemas offer half price tickets on Tuesdays.

(China Daily November 22, 2008)


Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read
Pet Name
China Archives
Related >>
Most Viewed >>
- Big freeze brings city square to a stop
- China to raise individual income tax threshold soon
- City's tallest tower rated best designed in world
- Young expats challenge stereotype of loaded laowai
- Graduates facing a battle for work