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Xi'an Cinemas E-mail
City Life - Report
Written by Peter
Now not being an avid cinema goer, I have not experienced one outside of my own hometown in Australia; in my mind going to the cinema is a last ditch idea for something to do to help keep the mindless silence between boyfriend and girlfriend interesting.  However, with Transformers 2 - Revenge of the Fallen, hitting the big screen this was something not to be missed.  I have been an avid Transformers fan since its birth back in the mid 80s, so the experience of seeing some of my favourite Autobots ala' Pimp My Ride, brings moisture to my mouth.  

My thoughts of what to expect from a Chinese cinema were somewhat high.  Fellow expats and Chinese friends had painted a picture in my head to expect nothing less than a wall-to-wall auditory and visual extravaganza.

Ok, step 1, find a cinema showing Transformers 2 in English. This was easy, 1 km up the road, and the movie would be starting at a healthy time of 6:30pm.

Step 2, buying a ticket.  Having arrived at the cinema at spot on 6:30pm, I was worried to be greeted by a foyer of non-lining up locals all racing to get into the 6:30pm show. This was not the case, a small wait and 120kuai later for 2 tickets plus 3 kuai for a small bottle of cold water I was on my way.  

I don't know whether it is customary at cinemas worldwide now to have ticketed seating, but I was asked "would you like to sit in the middle or the back?

Now onto step 3, finding which room and a perfect place to sit. Walking into the room at 6:37pm I was greeted with thoughts of 'huh' and 'oh', one word "multiplex". After cramming my way through the back row and seemly bending someone’s knees parallel to the ground as I squeezed passed, I had found my seat.

And what a seat, sort of a racing car bucket seat, perfect height for little Chinese legs (which I don't have), and made of a synthetic leather I knew I would be sliding off later from over excitement of Transformers transforming.

Though something missing was the head rests were little, so if you turned your head slightly you could see the person sitting behind you, and also hear them scratching their legs .  By now the movie was starting, and the rumbling of a good beginning was sprouting through the speakers.  At first impression the sound seemed somewhat good, set to the level of an airplane engine, good this is Transformers I want to feel those transforming robot sounds in my bones.  

A few minutes in I begin to realise the music volume is much louder than the speaking volume, so in a desperation to hear Optimus Prime and Meagan Fox, we climb over the seats to reach the middle speakers.  ahhh mid frequency, I can hear speaking. Though I begin to notice that when there is not much sound going on in the movie, the ‘buzz’ feedback through the speakers is nearly at the same level as if someone was sitting next to me having a conversation.

Now that I had gotten over the initial first impressions, the Transformers had taken over my thought train and I was getting sucked into the movie. While it was great to be seeing the big screen version of the movie, I felt somewhat disappointed by the atmosphere it was delivered in. Chinese culture being the way it is, it is acceptable during a movie to answer your mobile phone, text message, talk loudly, and generally be noisy...or is it.   

At the end of the day, I was ecstatic to have seen one of my favourite childhood cartoons portrayed on the big screen; but I won't be rushing to go back to the cinemas here anytime soon.


The Oscar" Cinema shows movies in english as well. It is located within the Century Ginwa Shopping Mall at close to the crossroad Gaoxin Lu and Keji Lu, Gaoxin district.

Map Location

Our valuable Editor Peter has been with us since Saturday, 11 July 2009.

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+1 #11 Arnold Carter 2010-11-24 09:50
nice article. tks!
+3 #10 Peter 2009-10-19 05:12
hello braddock, i don't know if Yanta district is near Yanta Beilu, but there is an international movie cinema on this road (yanta beilu) in the big Walmart, it shows English movies.
+2 #9 Braddock 2009-10-18 20:59
great stuff! many thanks! i just arrived in Xian and found your site. i am a cinema lover and had a hard time to find a cinema with english movies. thanks! i wonder if there is a cinema in yanta district where i live? perhaps a list of cinemas with english movies would be helpful. can i send you stories as well??
+3 #8 HAL9000 2009-10-10 05:01
Great report. however chinese cinemas suck. stares all the way, freaking sound, mobiles ringing , spitting and snoring. shit i hate cinemas in china (i live in tianjin). i see that in Xian it is no different! anyways thanks for this info. love this site, *thumbs up*
+2 #7 Peter 2009-09-11 15:02
Mentioned in Step 2 - "120kuai for 2 people".
+2 #6 ND 2009-09-11 06:21
Pipix, around 50 RMB.
+2 #5 Pipix 2009-09-10 02:13
interesting,but how much cost a ticket?
+1 #4 Steven 2009-09-07 22:43
i stepped across your site on google! I love it! It is beautiful! Thanks! I just arrived in Xi'an and it is so good to see a community here with such useful info. Many thanks, i will try out this Oscar cinema for sure!

+2 #3 Andrew Kinsey 2009-09-01 03:12
super article! Thanks! i was looking for a cinema with english movies here for a long time! a precious story thanks, it helped me a lot!
+2 #2 Peter 2009-08-24 14:47
You can find these Oscar cinemas at Century Ginwa on the corner of Gaoxin Lu and Keji Lu, Gaoxin district. There is a multitude of cinemas showing movies in English in Xi'an. cheers!

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