Curse of Golden Flowers premiered nationwide on December 14th and
ever since the whole world seems to be spinning around it. Dazzling big
productions always catch people's attention. However there is a small group of
people who like watching movies yet say 'no' to big commercial productions. They
prefer classics, documentaries and independent films. They prefer to go to small
movie houses instead of large commercial theaters. So for those who prefer the
avant-garde mindset and the unique angle of independent films to large-scale
productions, here is a list of movie houses that specialize in these kinds of
Haishang (above the sea): the past
glory of old films
There was a time that two Chinese and foreign black and white films would be
screened every weekend night at Haishang starting at 10pm. Yet now Haishang is a
cozy bar with fabric sofas, warm reading lamps, various drinks and modern music.
The old silver screen and projector remain where they were, yet the old films
are now shown at weekend parties.
Haishang still boasts a good selection of old movies, but now only shows them
when over ten people make reservations beforehand.
Location: Building 7, Sanlitun Beili, Chaoyang
Guangying Liuqing (light and shadow flowing
mood) playing with light and shadow
Guangying Liuqing screens films every
afternoon. The movie house owner is a film major graduate from the Communication
University of China. Most of the movies on show have an academic feel. There are
many movies there, including "Cruel Youth Growing-up Series", "1930s
Metropolitan Series" and "Origianal Foreign Classics" as well as classical
documentaries and women's movies.
Guangying afternoon movie starts on time each afternoon no matter how many
people there are in the audience.. Cocktails served here are all named after
movies, like "Red Cherry ", "Gone with the Wind" and "Love Story". The ground
floor is a recreational cafe featuring western and Taiwanese fast food. In
addition to perusing the films and books, customers can jump online with a free
wireless Internet connection.
Location: Commercial Cultural Street C-2, opposite to Wendu Water City,
Old Story Movies Cafe: lost in the past
Old Story Movies Cafe is Russian style restaurant decorated with old posters
and stills. It has scattered seats as well as five delicate balconies. One of
the balcony walls is covered in 1940s Shanghai posters and modern Shanghai model
Movies are shown in the main hall. Boasting Central Newsreel and Documentary
Film Studio resources,
Old Story Movies Cafe screens documentaries and old
movies every day from 10am to 10pm and aims to create a world reminiscent of the
times when the movies were made for white collars. Customers may also make
reservations to order movies.
Location: inside Central Newsreel and Documentary Film Studio, No.61
Beisanhuan Zhonglu, Haidian
Box Cafe: the base of independent movies
A well-known unique cafe in Haidian District, Box Cafe has a long tradition
of showing independent movies. Movies are shown every Tuesday and Saturday night
at 7:30pm. Four or fifty people fill the screening hall and there is an open
discussion with the anchor as well as the director of the film shown that night.
Apart from independent movies, customers may also find
ground coffee as well as shelves of books.
Location: 5 Xiwangzhuang, Shuangqinglu
China Film Archive: a fairyland for petty
bourgeoisie movie fans
China Film Archive exists for those who love foreign movies yet prefer
Chinese subtitles to dubbing. An art cinema with top class screening hardware
and sound systems, watching movies at the China Film Archive allows audiences to
enjoy movies on a big screen with great sound.
Two films are shown each Thursday starting at 6:30pm. Tickets are priced at
RMB 25 and a one-year ticket is sold at the end of the year. The cinema's nearly
one thousand seats are usually at least half full, and China Film Archive
customers make good company.
Location: No.3 Tianwen Huiyuanlu, Xiaoxitian, Haidian District