Get in the spirit with these classic Chinese New Year movies. Here are our top five.
The first of the All’s Well, Ends Well series, starring A-listers including Stephen Chow, Leslie Cheung, Maggie Cheung and Sandra Ng, is one of the classic Chinese New Year movies that’s shown every year by Hong Kong TV channels since its release nearly 30 years ago. The family comedy follows the chaotic romantic lives of three siblings (played by Chow, Cheung and producer Raymond Wong). It’s one of the most well-known mo lei tau films – a brand of nonsensical slapstick comedy made famous by Stephen Chow.
This classic period comedy set in the Song dynasty is one of many similarly named Chinese New Year movies produced by film mogul Raymond Wong. The plot starts off with siblings Chow Tung and Chow Gut (Samuel Hui and Sandra Ng) being forced to wed people they don’t love, and their reluctance to go through with the plan soon descends into farce, as characters played by Leslie Cheung, Rosamund Kwan and others join the plot.
Loosely based on star and director Stephen Chow’s own journey to stardom, the film centres on aspiring actor Wan Tin-sau (Chow) who gets given a shot as the leading man – but also gets caught up in a police investigation. The film was the highest-grossing film of 1999, and two decades later scenes of Chow dressing up as a deliveryman in an undercover operation are still some of the most memorable in Hong Kong cinema.
Centred around the game of mahjong, a favourite festive pastime, this Chinese New Year movie stars Andy Lau as a skilled mahjong player disowned by his family for his gambling habit, but who eventually finds redemption through the game. The value of sportsmanship is a critical plot point, and it’s become one of the city’s favourite post-2000 Chinese New Year films.
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Another in the canon of classic Chinese New Year movies, this romantic comedy starring Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Miriam Yeung is based around another Hong Kong obsession: feng shui. An enthusiast of all things superstitious, Yip Ku-hung (Yeung) encounters feng shui master Lai Liu-po (Leung) and begins an unlikely courtship involving Chinese and Western astrology. Leung is better known for his more serious roles, and My Lucky Star is one of the few films in which he was able to show off his comedic chops.