Beijing is China's capital city, filled with many tourist places, from palaces to temples and museums. Chinese movies set in Beijing are majorly about plots covering the Cultural Revolution (Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution) and the stories of the people who went through the sociopolitical then-situation led by Mao Zedong in 1966. Many listed films got banned and received controversies because of their sensitivity. Yet, the audience's response on the mainland and internationally was commendable, along with the awards these films have earned. Below are some movies that flowed like the high-tides and are to date in talks.
1. Beijing Taxi - 2010
Beijing Taxi is a documentary film filmed during the 2008’s Olympic games, held in China's capital city Beijing. The film consists of three main characters, three tax drivers, and Beijing. When it was all new in Beijing- the infrastructure, the modern buildings, and pathways; the stories of these drivers and Beijing gets highlighted with the then-highlighted hot topic, Olympic Games. It gives a glimpse of the new shining Beijing.
Directed By: Miao Wang
2. Farewell My Concubine - 1993
Shitou and Douzi have different backgrounds but become friends at an Opera training school. These opera stars and their friendship is all Farewell My Concubine rides through the Chinese communist movement and other obstacles between the love. It is a historical romance drama that set controversies at censor.
Directed By: Chen Kaige
3. The Last Emperor - 1987
The Last Emperor is a biography film about the real last Emperor of China, Pu Yi or Aisin Gioro, also called a puppet. The projection of his story has flashbacks from Puyi's life as a king to the life of a prisoner. After the revolution, it realizes that only- The Forbidden City (palace complex in Beijing) is the only place under his control.
Directed By: Bernardo Bertolucci
4. Shower - 1999
Shower movie is a heart-touching story that projects how Chinese traditional culture and modern culture clash. This story is about how the rude attitude of a businessman toward his employee gets demolished when he reconnects with his father and his little brother, who is mentally unstable. This movie shows the value of family and tradition.
Directed By: Yang Zhang
5. Beijing Bicycle - 2001
When a bicycle portrays a story between two different lifestyles of two boys is what the Beijing Bicycle movie wants to project through a single bicycle. A 17-year-old country boy works as a bicycle courier/deliveryman. Soon his bike is stolen and found with a poor city boy who has recently bought it. He is unaware of the situation.
Directed By: Wang Xiaoshuai
6. The Blue Kite - 1993
Tietou is a young kid's story set back during the 1950s and 1960s in Beijing. The division of the film into three parts depicts the three different movements in China and the struggles of this kid and the family. Anti-Rightist Campaign, Great Leap Forward, and the Cultural Revolution are the chapter titles with three family members in every chapter- Father, Uncle, and Stepfather. The movie got banned in China but awarded internationally.
Directed By: Tian Zhuangzhuang
7. East Palace, West Palace - 1996
It is likely a guess that the film is banned because it consists of homosexual content. Though China has accepted the concept legally, their representation through television and cinema is still on the radar of getting banned. East Palace, West Palace is a film about the interrogation of a writer by a policeman. The park shown in the movie is surrounded by palaces, from where the writer gets arrested. The movie created controversies when the director was under house arrest, and a copy of the film was smuggled and screened outside China.
Directed By: Zhang Yuan
8. Lost In Beijing - 2007
Lost in Beijing film will make you lost in the plot. The movie is about a migrant couple who survive by doing unwilling jobs. The female lead, Pingguo, is a worker in a massage parlor. Her incident of getting raped by her boss leads to blackmailing, jealousy, and questions relating to her pregnancy.
Directed By: Li Yu
9. In The Heat Of The Sun - 1994
Set in the early 1970s during the revolution period in China, it is the story of Ma Xiaojun, a teenage boy. Often called by a nickname, Monkey, he surrounds himself with a few street friends who roam around the city with him. Later, Monkey meets a girl, his friendship is torn apart due to horrible incidents, and they unite as adults.
Directed By: Jiang Wen
10. Lan Yu - 2001
Set in Beijing city of China, this is by a director from Hongkong. The film talks about the still a social issue and taboo topic, Gay and Gay romance. This sentimental relationship plot between a businessman and a university student got banned in China because of the homosexual theme and a few political issues.
Directed By: Stanley Kwan