Mandarin Video Sources
Please note this page has been largely supplanted by the Chinese Films Page and the Qiao Hu Study Guides. Both of the aforementioned pages should be very useful for students of Mandarin of various levels, whether highly dedicated or casual fans of the language or culture, so I recommend you visit them rather than stay here.
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I will use this page to present and periodically update the viewing sources I have used for my language acquisition experiment. The sources and times below are valid through March 30, 2014.
The type of viewing source I have spent the most time on thus far are Chinese movies (17 hrs), and I expect that will be the case throughout my experiment, as they are what I most enjoy.
However, the single source I have watched the most is Boonie Bears (11 hrs) – the best source of all, which my daughter and I have bonded over. While I have watched 11 hours of the Bears, Camila Daya has watched significantly more (I haven’t tabulated her viewing times yet). This includes the cartoon episodes, which are about 12 minutes long, and the feature film, Boonie Bears To the Rescue.
This is definitely my favorite source, and certainly my daughter’s. As I wrote before, it’s not a source from which I apparently learn much new vocabulary, but because of its entertainment value, huge amount of episodes, and learning potential, I believe it will be the number source for this first year of viewing. So far we have watched all the episodes from 1 through 47. Here episode 1.
Getting back to movies, I spent 4 hours and 20 minutes watching and rewatching the movie Hero (which I really enjoyed).
I also watched Farewell My Concubine (which I didn’t enjoy), spending 2 hours and 20 minutes on it. I bought and downloaded Hero from amazon.com, while I found Farewell my Concubine for online streaming, here:
I also watched a dubbed Western movie: The Jesus Film in Mandarin, which is available on YouTube. I watched it once through, and part of it a second time, spending a total of 2 hours and 40 minutes.
I watched two comedies in March. The first, through the suggestion of a friend who had recently come across a lot of Chinese tourists in Thailand, was Lost in Thailand. While it was interesting to see a very Western style comedy in Mandarin, the film was OK at best. Then in a Chinese learning forum someone mentioned that the earlier Lost on Journey was better, so I watched it as well. Despite the silly title and the fact that many ideas are copied from Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, I agree that it is better than Lost in Thailand.
Getting back to more traditional and far better Chinese movies, I watched Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (which I had seen in the theaters many years ago).
While it is a good movie, as far as magical Kung Fu and sword fighting movies go, I think Hero is much better.
The other day my wife agreed to watch a movie in Mandarin with me as long as it was a romantic movie. So we watched the Taiwanese movie Secret, which was definitely OK.
Finally, a great learning source, though it is aimed at toddlers and therefore hard for an adult to spend a lot of time on, is Momo. Here is the best clip I have come across. I’ve spent a total of about 3.6 hours on a wide variety of Momo clips.
The other two sources used thus far are “China’s most popular cartoon,” apparently called Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf a trippy series about sheep and wolves, and an educational cartoon that teaches kids about washing their hands, brushing their teeth, and so forth. I have spent about 75 minutes and 45 minutes on them, respectively. Here is a sample of each.