Learning about China through film

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, but given today the new leaders of China have been announced it seemed more apt.

When I last taught my course on China I was asked by a student if there were any good films they could ‘learn about China’ from. I quite like using film as teaching tool – of course with the reminder that these are films and not  true reflections of events. I put together a short list of films related to different time periods of China’s history.

  • Han Dynasty
    • The Great Conqueror Concubine (1995)
    • The Lost Bladesman (2011)
    • Painted Skin (2008)
    • Red Cliff (2008)
    • Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon (2008)
    • White Vengeance (2009)
  • Ming Dynasty
    • New Dragon Date Inn (1992)
    • 14 blades (2010)
    • Reign of Assassins (2010)
  • Nanking Massacre
    • City of Life and Death (2009)
    • The Children of Huang Shi (2008)
  • Tang Dynasty
    • House of Flying Daggers (2004)
    • Shaolin Temple (1982)
    • Warriors of Heaven and Earth (2003)
  • Zhou Dynasty
    • Confucius (2010)
    • Hero (2002)
    • Sacrifice (2010)
    • Little Big Soldier (2010)
  • Qing Dynasty
    • Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000)
    • The Opium War (1997)
    • Seven Swords (2005)
  • Cultural Revolution
    • The Last Emperor (2007)
    • Sunflower (2005)
    • Under the Hawthorn Tree (2007)

Then one of my favourite films for helping students to learn about the establishment of the People’s Republic of China – Founding of a Republic (2011).

I am not suggesting that students can learn about the development of China solely through film but they are a very helpful tool for helping students to visualise different elements of history, culture, and particular individuals.

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