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A City of Sadness (1989)
"Bei qing cheng shi" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  21 October 1989 (Taiwan)
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 1,953 users  
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Title: A City of Sadness (1989)

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Shufen Xin ...
Hinome
Sung Young Chen ...
Wen-heung
Jack Kao ...
Wen Leung
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Wou Yi Fang ...
Hinoiei
Ai-yun Ho ...
Bg Brother Chie
Tianlu Li ...
Ah-lu
Ju Lin
Ikuyo Nakamura ...
Shizuko
Chen-Nan Tsai
Chang-Chiang Yang
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Storyline

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Drama

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Release Date:

21 October 1989 (Taiwan)  »

Also Known As:

Bei qing cheng shi  »

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1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As revealed in scriptwriter Chu Tien-Wen's book, the original premise of this film is the reunion of an ex-gangster (which Hou Hsiao-Hsien intended to cast Chow Yun-fat for the role) and his former lover (supposedly played by Yang Li-Hua, the top Taiwanese Opera actress in real-life) in 1970s. Hou and Chu then extended the story to involve substantial flashbacks of the calamity of the woman's family in late 1940s (where the woman was the teenage daughter of Chen Song-Yong's character). They then abandoned the former premise and instead focused on the 1940s' story. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Story of Film: An Odyssey: Episode #1.13 (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A very moving time travel to post-war Taiwan
8 January 2008 | by (Graz, Austria) – See all my reviews

This film is definitely one of the best historical film i have ever seen!

... putting aside all those clichés most filmmakers are tend to use: there is no such thing as heroic portrayal of martyrs or the use of extremely artificial dramatic art. That makes this film believable and, compared to others, very unique.

Normally you would have a narrator who is telling you the story from his point of view. Now, i don't want to say that i dismiss this way of narration but "A city of sadness" does not need such a narrator; in fact it would shatter the special specific atmosphere of this movie if that would be the case. Without definitive narrative elements, the staging normally involves (narration/music/DP etc), the viewer gets the feeling that he is able to see for himself what the lives of those people were like when WWII ended. It is fascinating to witness how this very sober staging is still able to evoke strong emotions within the viewer. This is due to the directors vision but also to the cast which did an amazing job.

It was also very clever to have the deaf Wen-Ch'ing as the main character so the viewer can sympathize with him very easily: like Wen-Ch'ing the viewer is kind of caught up within the political turbulence and is not to able react like he would want because he is mute ... and is therefore not able to speak up in a loud voice to stop the violence. He is forced to watch.

Even today the topic Taiwan/China isn't solved at all. After watching this film people will surely get a better understanding why the struggle between China and Taiwan is so filled with anger, sadness, fury ...

so ... that's definitely a must-see!! ;)


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