Beginning with the new moon that occurs between January 21 and February 20 (as per the English calendar), the Chinese New Year, also called Lunar New Year, is an annual festival that spans over 15 days. This year, it starts on 1 February.
The festival is observed in places where the lunisolar calendar is followed, and is celebrated in various Asian countries, including Singapore, South Korea, and Vietnam with much pomp and show. However, because of the spread of the COVID-19 variant Omicron, many people may not be able to travel or visit to see loved ones.
If you are also planning to stay home this year, you can still bring in some new year cheer by hosting virtual get-togethers, playing games online or spending some quiet time watching movies. For those who choose the latter, this curated list of Chinese New Year movies can be helpful.
It includes movies that are released during the Lunar year period and classics that can be watched any time. So get your favourite munchies ready for a Chinese New Year movie marathon and enjoy this festive season from the comfort of your home.
8 Chinese New Year movies to put on your watchlist:
The Four Seas (2022)
One of the most-anticipated Chinese New Year films, Four Seas will release on 1 February. Directed by Han Han, the movie stars Liu Haoran, Zhang Youhao, Qiao Shan, Liu Haocun, Yin Zheng, Shen Teng and Zhou Qi in pivotal roles.
The story follows a young motorcycle stunt driver (Liu Haoran) who renews his relationship with his estranged father and meets a racecar brother-sister duo in a chance encounter. The three then go on a road trip, which is where all the fun lies.
Breaking Through (2022)
Movies based on sportspersons give us an equal dose of entertainment and inspiration, and this flick is expected to be no different.
The highly anticipated film is directed by Wang Fangfang and tells the story of a coach and athlete duo that won the first-ever gold medal in the Winter Olympics for China.
Starring Meng Meiqi and Xia Yu, Breaking Through is expected to generate a lot of hype for the Winter Olympics 2022, which will be hosted by Beijing.
The film is set to release on the day of the Chinese New Year.
Kung Fu Hustle (2004)
Stephen Chow is a master when it comes to perfectly mixing martial arts and comedy, and Kung Fu Hustle is proof of that.
The classic is based on the life of Sing (played by Chow) who wants to join an infamous gang. Sing, later, stumbles upon a community whose members exhibit exceptional kung fu skills.
As the story moves ahead, it evolves into a fight between the two sides to defend their turf. Their drive to win will keep viewers hooked on their TV screens.
The cast includes Xiaogang Feng as Crocodile Gang Boss (as Feng Xiao Gang), Zhihua Dong as Donut (as Zhi Hua Dong), Danny Kwok-Kwan Chan as Brother Sum (as Danny Chan), Tze-Chung Lam as Bone and Siu-Lung Leung as the Beast.
Enter The Dragon (1973)
“Everybody was Kung fu fighting” during the 70s. One of the reasons kung fu was such a rage in the movies was because of Bruce Lee, whose movie Enter The Dragon had been released in 1973.
The film is still one of the best in the genre and is full of breathtaking stunts that keep you on the edge of your seat. Bruce Lee plays Lee, an undercover agent who is sent to partake in a tournament in Hong Kong to bust the opium trade at its establishment.
Directed by Robert Clouse, John Saxon, Jim Kelly, Ahna Capri, Kien Shih, Robert Wall and Angela Mao portray iconic roles.
Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
This film created a lot of buzz when it was released because of its all-Asian cast. This year, celebrate Chinese New Year with friends with a viewing of this fun-filled movie.
Crazy Rich Asians is based on Kevin Kwan’s bestselling novel by the same name. The film introduced the world to a part of Singapore that is dripping in luxury, glamour and wealth while following traditions.
The movie revolves around Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), who travels to Singapore with her boyfriend Nick Young (Henry Golding) to attend his friend’s wedding and meet his family where she realises that he belongs to one of the richest families in the country. The plot entails the hardships Wu faces while making a place for herself in Young’s family.
The Jon M. Chu directorial includes a star-studded cast of Awkwafina as Peik Lin Goh, Michelle Yeoh as Eleanor Young, Gemma Chan as Astrid Young Teo and Lisa Lu as Ah Ma, among many others.
Shaolin Soccer (2001)
A crossover between kung fu, football and comedy, the classic film is another one of Stephen Chow’s marvels.
The film is about a former soccer star, Golden Leg (Ng Mang Tat), whose career ended because of his boss and team coach. The Shaolin follower rounds up his dispirited brothers and forms a soccer team to take part in a tournament for a 1-million-dollar prize.
In Shaolin Soccer, Chow essays the role of ‘Mighty Steel Leg Sing’ who has exceptional kung fu skills and thinks Shaolin kung fu is the answer to everything. The group tries to revive their skill set and use martial arts to their advantage.
Last Train Home (2009)
Last Train Home revolves around the hardships and sacrifices of 130 million migrant workers who travel back to their village during the Chinese New Year to meet their children.
The emotional film traces the journey of a couple — Changhua Zhang and Suqin Chen — who, like other migrant workers in their village, have left behind their children in the care of elders to earn money, only to return once a year to celebrate the Lunar New Year with loved ones.
All’s Well, Ends Well (1992)
Directed by Clifton Ko, All’s Well, Ends Well follows three Shang brothers — Shang Moon (Raymond Pak-Ming Wong), Shang Foon (Stephen Chow) and Shang So (Leslie Cheung) — who try to get their love lives on track.
The slapstick comedy will leave you in splits as the brothers fight their inner evils while trying to get into the good books of their parents.
Directed by Clifton Ko, the film casts Maggie Cheung, Sandra Kwan Yue Ng, Teresa Mo, Sheila Chan, Heung-Kam Lee and Hoi-San Kwan in prominent roles. The Chinese New Year classic has six sequels.
(Hero and featured image credits: Sony Pictures)