Continuing our look back at 2019, it was an epic year for cinema in every sense of the word, for both Chinese and western cinema. We saw Chinese cinema make a big splash with their own flavor of bombastic Sci-Fi. We saw endings to big franchises from both sides of the world, from the Skywalker’s to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes all the way to Ip Man himself. The 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China also saw several patriotic films released in nationwide celebration. Let’s look at these titles in Mandarin Chinese.

*Tip: Watching these Chinese films in Mandarin is a great way and a great resource to learn the language.

Chinese Films

Liúlàng Dìqiú


The Wandering Earth

Frant Gwo’s Sci-Fi spectacular is a blockbuster based on multi award winning Sci-Fi novelist Liu Cixin’s novel of the same name, about the impending death of the sun and Earth’s attempt to be propelled away into another solar system using giant planet thrusters. The movie was a giant planet of a movie itselt starring none other than man of the moment Wu Jing, leading the worldwide global box office for the first quarter of the year, becoming the 3rd highest grossing film ever in China and the 3rd highest grossing non-English language film ever.

Né Zha zhī Mótóng Jiàngshì


Ne Zha

The surprise breakout hit of the summer in China and now not only one of China’s most successful animations but movies. Based on the Chinese mythological character Nezha, the film title literally transates as ‘Birth of the Demon Nezha’, about a boy with unique powers who was meant to be born good from a heavenly pearl but after the pearl was switched was born a demon. Finding himself an outcast, hated and feared, destined by prophecy to bring destruction to the world, Nezha must choose between good and evil and battle against fate to become the hero. A humorous and great spectacle this film certainly captured China’s imagination, becoming the second highest grossing film ever in China, the second highest non-English language film worldwide, and the highest grossing non-US animation film ever, some feat.

Wǒ hé Wǒ de Zǔguó


My Country, My People

Released to commemorate the 70th founding of the People’s Republic of China, this film is a 7-part anthology featuring different stories about successful events in China’s past that defined these 7 decades and the ordinary and exemplary Chinese people involved, beginning from the founding to the Beijing Olympics and beyond. Whilst anthology films like this tend to lack consistency in style, each story is nevertheless interesting and has its poignant moments and ends in a patriotic flourish.

Zhōngguó Jīzhǎng


The Captain

Making an entry in films not to watch before your plane flight is, The Captain, another film released during the 70th anniversary festivities, based on the real-life Sichuan Airlines Flight 8633 where the cockpit windshield cracked at 30,000 feet in the air, putting everyone on board’s life in danger. It’s a disaster movie where, and I’m not spoiling anything here, where everyone miraculously survives because of the amazing flight crew and especially the skilled pilot/captain that gives the film its title. If you’re looking for Top Gun with higher stakes, watch these pilots in their aviator sunglasses in a rollicking ride.

Shàonián de Nǐ


Better Days

Hitting the spot especially for the younger generation, this romantic drama about the dreaded gaokao exam really did hit the mark. About a bullied teenage girl who finds solace in an unlikely relationship with a mysterious young man who tries to protect her, all the while she goes through the feelings of growing up and the pressures of China’s final examinations. Most educated people in China will definitely know what that feels like. The word bullying really did go viral in 2019 with this film and on the political arena.

Yè Wèn 4: Wánjié Piān


Ip Man 4: The Finale

This is film is actually in Cantonese but releases in Mainland China are dubbed in Mandarin. If you’re looking to practice your Mandarin Chinese then it’s well worth watching the Mandarin version otherwise watching it in the originally intended language is always the best. But this is the solid finale of the Kung-Fu saga about legendary wing-chun martial artist Ip Man that presents a salivating fantasy for all martial arts fans – Ip Man goes to San Francisco in the sixties for personal reasons and meets his famed student, Bruce Lee. The film dramatizes the racial injustics in sixties America but lacks any nuance, however it’s a solid kung-fu actioner with great fight sequences and some rousing stuff that gives Ip Man a deserving send-off.

*Where you can watch these Chinese films: You can wait for some of them to be released on Netflix, they will definitely be released on Chinese streaming site, Youku (But the site is all in Chinese, you will need to translate this via Google Translate).

Western Films

Fùchóu Zhě Liánméng 4: Zhōngjú zhī Zhàn


Avengers: Endgame

Jīngqí Duìzhǎng


Captain Marvel

Zhīzhū Xiá: Yīngxióng Yuǎnzhēng


Spider Man: Far From Home

Shīzi Wáng


The Lion King

Ā Lìtǎ: Zhàndòu Tiānshǐ


Alita: Battle Angel

Dà Zhēntàn Píkǎqiū


Detective Pikachu

Sùdù yǔ Jīqíng


Hobbs & Shaw

Bīngxuě Qíyuán 2


Frozen 2


Xīngqiú Dàzhàn: Tiānxíng Zhě de Juéqǐ


Star Wars VII: The Rise of Skywalker

And that’s it! Here’s our rundown of the top films to grace Chinese cinema screens in the year 2019, in Mandarin.

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