Five films to watch over the Chinese New Year

From action flicks to art-house masterpieces – the perfect films to watch for the occasion

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The Chinese New Year, or the spring festival, is a celebration that takes places across East Asia. Chinese populations across the globe come together to celebrate the new year, which is usually marked be a specific animal which symbolises the year. On February 5, the year of the pig will begin.

To celebrate the special occasion, many people like to enjoy Chinese food, take part in Chinese traditions and generally enjoy the atmosphere. If you're not the type who usually celebrates Chinese New Year, perhaps a movie might get you in the mood.

Here are five films that will put you in the mood for the celebration...

Police Story (1985)

Jackie Chan is an absolute global powerhouse of action and comedy cinema today, but in 1985 he was mostly loved and appreciated in Asia and some independent cinemas around Europe and America that showed his kung-fu films. In Police Story, the first in an ever-expanding film series, Chan shines bright with his comedic timing and impeccable fighting skills as Chan Ka Kui. The film has garnered a massive following over the years, and is now considered one of Jackie's best film roles. Watch it with friends for the awesome action set pieces and the beautiful 1980s Hong Kong aesthetic.

Rush Hour 2 (2001)

Sticking with Jackie Chan, but going from the start of his global appeal to the absolute pinnacle. Some might argue that the first Rush Hour film is better – they would be right and I could not argue otherwise. But the second is the more fun entry. With different locales and a better hit rate of jokes, the sequel stands proudly next to the first instalment. Chan delivers what you would expect him to, although arguably his American film outings are never as satisfying and enjoyable as his Hong Kong films, that can be forgiven in this case.

A Touch of Sin (2013)

A change of pace to the comedic, A Touch of Sin is a Chinese film directed by screen veteran Zhangke Jia. The film revolves around four stories, loosely based around real events that occurred in China in the past 20 years. Though not funny or feel-good, the film offers a closer look at Chinese society and the different types of people that make up the country. Recommended for those who wish to break away from the norm of mainstream cinema.

Kung Fu Hustle (2004)

Back to the comedic, Kung Fu Hustle is actor-director Stephen Chow's magnum opus. He wrote, directed and starred in what is essentially an ode to kung-fu films of old. The beauty of Kung Fu Hustle is in trying to pay homage to the films it tries to emulate, it creates a product better than all of them. The film packs a punch with some unforgettable CGI-filled fight scenes that involve anything from two to 200 people.

A Better Tomorrow (1986)

Made during the golden age of Hong Kong crime cinema, A Better Tomorrow is an action drama starring Chow Yun-fat and directed by genre legend John Woo. Best know as the director from Hollywood hits such as Face/Off and Mission: Impossible II, John Woo made his name directing gritty crime films in Asia. His finest films are probably Hard Boiled and The Killer (the 1989 version), but A Better Tomorrow has the best storyline of all his films. Made on a tight budget, the story revolves around two estranged brothers who took different paths in life, with one becoming a gangster and the other a police officer. The film was a box-office success and spawned two beloved sequels.