Documentary The Best Documentaries About China  

Ranker Film
120 votes 59 voters 11.2k views 36 items

List Rules Documentaries about China and all things Chinese.

This list of the best documentaries about China has been ranked by the community and includes popular and recognizable titles, along with independent films. What is the best documentary about China? Vote up your favorites below.

As you vote, the order of the list will be changed to see which documentary about China comes out on top. If you do not see your favorite on the list, add it along with the titles so that others can vote on it as well. This list currently includes titles such as, Manufactured Landscapes, Petition, and Disorder.

Documentaries are nonfiction and made with the intention of displaying reality for historical purposes and to educate those watching the film. Most documentaries are driven by independent filmmakers and those passionate about the topics they are portraying.

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"China: A Century of Revo... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Documentaries About China
Pandamon added "China: A Century of Revolution"

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Manufactured Landscapes Manufactured Landscapes is a 2006 feature length documentary film about the work of photographer Edward Burtynsky. It was directed by Jennifer Baichwal and is distributed by Zeitgeist Films.

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Petition "“Petition – The court of the complainants”, directed by Zhao Liang, is a unique testimony about China today. Since 1996 Zhao Liang has filmed the “petitioners”, who come from all over ...more

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Still Life Zhao Tao, Wang Hongwei, Sanming Han Still Life is a 2006 Chinese film directed by Jia Zhangke. Shot in the old village of Fengjie, a small town on the Yangtze River which is slowly being destroyed by the building of the Three ...more

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Wild China

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Beijing Besieged by Waste Beijing Besieged by Waste is a 2011 documentary film directed by Jiuliang Wang.

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Disorder Darren Kendrick, Alan Samulski, Ruthanne Gereghty Disorder is a 2009 documentary film directed by Weikai Huang.

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Please Vote for Me Please Vote for Me is a 2007 documentary film following the elections for class monitor in a 3rd grade class of eight-year-old children in the Evergreen Primary School in Wuhan, China. The ...more

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Umbrella Umbrella or San is a Chinese documentary film directed by Du Haibin and released in 2007. The film documents the experiences of modern rural China, particularly five social groups: students, ...more

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Up the Yangtze Yung Chang When in 1998 Chilean judge Juan Guzmán was assigned the first criminal cases against the country's ex-dictator, General Augusto Pinochet, no one expected much. Guzmán had supported ...more

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Once Upon a Time Proletarian is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Documentaries About China
Once Upon a Time Proletarian "Much like the written ideograms in Chinese languages, the twelve chapters forming Guo Xiaolu's latest documentary, Once Upon a Time Proletarian: 12 Tales of a Country, transcend ...more

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Searching for Lin Zhao's Soul

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Love in China

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Ghost Town is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Documentaries About China
Ghost Town "With this absorbing three-part epic documentary, Zhao Dayong joins the ranks of the essential Chinese independent filmmakers, led by Jia Zhangke and Wang Bing. Zhiziluo is a remote village ...more

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Meishi Street Meishi Street, directed by Ou Ning, is a 2006 independent Chinese documentary that portrays a group of Beijing residents protesting the planned destruction of their street prior to the 2008 ...more

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The Gate of Heavenly Peace The Gate of Heavenly Peace is a 1995 documentary film, produced by Richard Gordon and Carma Hinton, about the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.

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They Chose China is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Documentaries About China

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Platform Zhao Tao, Jing Dong Liang, Wang Hongwei Platform is a 2000 Chinese film written and directed by Jia Zhangke. The film is named after a popular song about waiting at a railway platform. It is set in and around the small city of ...more

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Seoul Train Seoul Train is a 2004 documentary film that deals with the dangerous journeys of North Korean defectors fleeing through or to China. These journeys are both dangerous and daring, since if ...more

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From China with Love Jürgen Prochnow, Burt Kwouk, Christine Reinhart

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1428 "A first-hand account of the Great Sichuan Earthquake that shows the human face of a massive tragedy. The statistics are mind-boggling: 70,000 dead, 375,000 casualties. In 1428 filmmaker Du ...more

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A Song For Tibet A Song for Tibet is a 1991 Canadian short documentary film about efforts of Tibetans in exile, led by the Dalai Lama, to free their homeland and preserve their heritage. Directed by Anne ...more

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Karamay Karamay is a 2010 documentary film by Chinese director Xu Xin about the 1994 Karamay fire. It is largely black-and-white.

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China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province is a film directed by Jon Alpert and Matthew O'Neill and released on January 21, 2010.

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Inside Fighting China is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Documentaries About China
Inside Fighting China Inside Fighting China is a 1941 Canadian short documentary film directed by Stuart Legg, and narrated by Lorne Greene. The film documents China's resistance to Japan's invasion during World War ...more

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Beijing Bastards Cui Jian, Dou Wei, Feihong Yu Beijing Bastards is a 1993 drama film by sixth generation director Zhang Yuan, and is one of the first independently produced Chinese films.

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Shanghai Dreams Gao Yuanyuan, Qin Hao, Yang Tang Shanghai Dreams is a 2005 Chinese film directed by Wang Xiaoshuai and starring Gao Yuanyuan, Li Bin, Tang Yang, Wang Xiaoyang, and Yao Anlian. The film was produced by Stellar Megamedia, Debo ...more

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Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks is a Chinese documentary film by Wang Bing. Over 9 hours long, the film consists of three parts, "Rust," "Remnants" and "Rails." Tie ...more

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Blind Shaft Wang Baoqiang, Shuangbao Wang, An Jing Blind Shaft is a 2003 film about a pair of brutal con artists operating in the illegal coal mines of present-day northern China. The film was written and directed by Li Yang, and is based on ...more

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Sunrise Over Tiananmen Square Shui-Bo Wang Sunrise Over Tiananmen Square is a 1998 National Film Board of Canada short animated documentary directed by Shui-Bo Wang. It is an autobiography about the director's life, career and ultimate ...more

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Moving the Mountain Lee Siu-kei, Tsung-cheng Hou, Yi-Ming Huang Moving the Mountain is a 1994 feature documentary directed by Michael Apted and produced by Trudie Styler, with cinematography by Maryse Alberti and music by Liu Sola. The film takes its title ...more

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The Pickpocket Wang Hongwei, Wang Reiren, Zuo Baitao Xiao Wu also known as The Pickpocket is a 1997 Chinese movie directed by Jia Zhangke. The film was the directorial debut of Jia Zhangke, one of the major figures of the so-called Sixth ...more

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Useless Kei Ma Useless is a 2007 documentary film directed by Jia Zhangke. It is Jia's second full-length documentary film after 2006's Dong. The film follows China's fashion and clothing industry. The film ...more

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China Blue China Blue is a 2005 documentary film directed by Micha Peled. It follows the life of Jasmine Li, a young seventeen-year-old worker from Sichuan province, in a Chinese jeans factory, Lifeng ...more

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Last Train Home Every spring, China’s cities are plunged into chaos as 130 million migrant workers journey to their home villages for the New Year in the world’s largest human migration. Last Train Home takes ...more

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China: The Roots of Madness China: The Roots of Madness is a 1967 Cold War era, made-for-TV documentary film produced by David L. Wolper, written by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Theodore H. White with production cost ...more