12 Christmas Gift Ideas for the Sinophile

My English partner once told me, that China should re-Christen themselves the East Pole, claim Father Christmas as one of their own, and tell the children of the world, that he’s just moved closer to where the toys are made.

As we hear sleigh bells on the horizon, I know a lot of you will be facing Christmas with a mixture of excitement and dread, with many of you still hunting for exactly the right gift to spoil your loved ones and friends. Interest in Chinese culture have grown in recent years, and I hope this gift guide may help inspire anyone shopping for a sinophile!


Posted in Blog and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , by

Peking into Chinese Opera

This weekend sees a brief season of Chinese opera at Sadler’s Wells. I thought I’d write a little about this traditional musical genre.


Posted in Blog and tagged , , , , , , , , , , by

13 Chinese Horror Films

The Chinese horror movie industry has really blossomed in the 21st century, especially mainland output. Here is an unlucky selection of Chinese horror movies for you to enjoy over the Halloween weekend.


Posted in Blog and tagged , , , , , by

Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal

The Chinese Lunar calendar doesn’t always match up with ours, and our festivals hardly ever overlap. Whilst the West gets all its gruesome ghosts and ghouls taking centre stage at the end of October, the biggest festival of the dead in China takes place half way through the seventh lunar month. This friday saw the end of Zhong Yuan (or Ghost Month http://snowpavilion.co.uk/zhong-yuan-ghost-month/), and to celebrate, here’s a review of 2015’s big fantasy monster movie, released internationally (but not in the UK yet) in August.


Posted in Blog and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , by

Queer China

The Chinese Visual Festival is a mixed bag, documentaries, art films, first time projects and a few gems. It’s difficult for me to cover the whole festival, but I try and cover a couple of screenings each year. This year’s LGBT programme was most inviting, and having missed last year’s, it was one I was determined to attend.


Posted in Blog and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , by

5 CNY Things To Do Outside Chinatown

This week is Spring Festival 2015. In London’s Chinatown, festive lanterns shine over frantic shoppers rushing about to prepare for the biggest annual feast and celebration, there will be lion dances in Gerrard Street and music performances in Trafalgar Square. Is the thought of pushing through the crowds again making your head spin? Are you an adventurous Sinophile wandering what else there is beyond the bounds of Soho? Here are some things you can enjoy in London outside Chinatown.


Posted in Blog and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , by

Hero of Shaolin: A Review

It’s been a big autumn for Shaolin in Britain, what with the European Shaolin Festival in October, followed by the re-release of 1984 kungfu classic Hero of Shaolin by Terracotta Distributions on the 10th of November.


Posted in Blog and tagged , , , , , , , , , by

On Chinese Horror Part V: Strange Tales from the Hearth

Over the last month, I’ve delved a little into Chinese ideas of ghosts, and horror. The ultimate source however, is the work of Shandong scholar, Pu Song Ling, who gathered stories from common folk and rewrote them into 491 short stories collected as 聊斋志异 “Liao Zhai Zhi Yi”, or “Strange Tales from the Hearth” (or more commonly in the West, “Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio”).


Posted in Blog and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , by

On Chinese Horror Part IV: Mainland Classics

Happy Halloween. To celebrate, I’m going to tell you about the history of horror films in mainland China. It’s true that there haven’t been as many horror classics produced in the People’s Republic, as in Hong Kong, due to closer control of more “sensationalist” content, but we should remember that it was the film talent from Shanghai, who migrated to Hong Kong in the early twentieth century that helped Hong Kong’s legendary cinema industry flourish.


Posted in Blog and tagged , , , , , , , , , by

On Chinese Horror Part III: HK Zombie Movies

Continuing on with my series on Chinese Horror, I want to talk about Jiang Shi or 僵尸, and the films that have made them the overriding image of the Chinese Supernatural.


Posted in Blog and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , by