The must-see Chinese movies of 2018
Updated 19:07, 30-Dec-2018
It has been a good year for Chinese movies. Besides plenty of comedies and romances, 2018 also saw works from famed directors like Zhang Yimou and impressive debuts from emerging filmmakers like Wen Muye.
"Operation Red Sea" is an action war film directed by Dante Lam, an explosive follow-up to his 2016 box office smash Operation Mekong. It is loosely based on the evacuation of 225 foreign nationals and almost 600 Chinese citizens from Yemen's southern port of Aden in March 2015, as a civil war broke out. The film snatched a number of top awards and cashed in some four billion yuan at the box office 
Medicine smuggler dramedy "Dying to Survive" is director Wen Muye's feature debut. The storyline comes from the real-life story of Lu Yong, a Chinese leukemia patient who smuggled cheap but unproven cancer medicine from India for 1,000 Chinese cancer sufferers in 2004. It stars Xu Zheng, who also co-produced the film with Ning Hao. The film became a box-office phenomenon while being hailed by critics as a creative breakthrough for the national film industry.
Posters for "Ash Is Purest White" (L) and "Shadow" (R). /Mtime Photo

Posters for "Ash Is Purest White" (L) and "Shadow" (R). /Mtime Photo

Actor-director Jiang Wen's larger-than-life blockbuster, "Hidden Man" made its international bow as a gala title in Toronto. Set in a spy-infested China in the 1930s, the plot revolves around a Chinese spy's revenge against those who killed his kung-fu master. It's a loose adaptation of the novel "The Reclusive Hero," by Beijing-born, Taipei-raised writer Zhang Beihai.
"Ash Is Purest White" finds writer-director Jia Zhangke revisiting familiar themes while continuing to observe the modern society with an urgent, empathetic eye. It was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.
"Shadow" is the latest work from acclaimed filmmaker Zhang Yimou. The martial arts epic is a re-imagination of the classic Three Kingdoms story from ancient Chinese history. It's filmed in a unique "Chinese watercolor" style and is both Zhang's return to his roots as a filmmaker and a bold new beginning.