MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 41,375 this week

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

 -  Drama  -  21 October 1989 (Taiwan)
8.1
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.1/10 from 1,952 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 10 critic

Add a Plot

Director:

0Check in
0Share...

Related News

Cafe Lumiere
| The Hollywood Reporter

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 25 titles
created 18 Aug 2012
 
list image
a list of 24 titles
created 06 Feb 2013
 
a list of 45 titles
created 4 months ago
 
a list of 25 titles
created 3 months ago
 

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: A City of Sadness (1989)

A City of Sadness (1989) on IMDb 8.1/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of A City of Sadness.
8 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  
Director: Hsiao-hsien Hou
Stars: Yo Hitoto, Tadanobu Asano, Masato Hagiwara
Still Life (2006)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Citizens return to a flooded town to salvage what they can and say good-bye to things they lost.

Director: Zhangke Jia
Stars: Tao Zhao, Zhou Lan, Sanming Han
Vive L'Amour (1994)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The film focuses on three city folks who unknowingly share the same apartment: Mei, a real estate agent who uses it for her sexual affairs; Ah-jung, her current lover; and Hsiao-ang, who's ... See full summary »

Director: Ming-liang Tsai
Stars: Chao-jung Chen, Kang-sheng Lee, Kuei-Mei Yang
Talk to Her (2002)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Two men share an odd friendship while they care for two women who are both in deep comas.

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Rosario Flores, Javier Cámara, Darío Grandinetti
Tokyo Story (1953)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

An old couple visit their children and grandchildren in the city; but the children have little time for them.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu
Stars: Chishû Ryû, Chieko Higashiyama, Sô Yamamura
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

China in the 1920's. After her father's death, nineteen year old Songlian is forced to marry Chen Zuoqian, the lord of a powerful family. Fifty year old Chen has already three wives, each ... See full summary »

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Li Gong, Jingwu Ma, Saifei He
Nobody Knows (2004)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

In a small Tokyo apartment, twelve-year-old Akira must care for his younger siblings after their mother leaves them and shows no sign of returning.

Director: Hirokazu Koreeda
Stars: Yûya Yagira, Ayu Kitaura, Hiei Kimura
Persona (1966)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A nurse is put in charge of an actress who can't talk and finds that the actress's persona is melding with hers.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Bibi Andersson, Liv Ullmann, Margaretha Krook
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

This story takes place in a small town on the Hungarian Plain. In a provincial town, which is surrounded with nothing else but frost. It is bitterly cold weather - without snow. Even in ... See full summary »

Directors: Béla Tarr, Ágnes Hranitzky
Stars: Lars Rudolph, Peter Fitz, Hanna Schygulla
Late Spring (1949)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Noriko is twenty-seven years old and still living with her widowed father. Everybody tries to talk her into marrying, but Noriko wants to stay at home caring for her father.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu
Stars: Chishû Ryû, Setsuko Hara, Yumeji Tsukioka
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The semi-autobiographical film on director Hou Hsiao-Hsien's childhood and adolescence, when he was growing up in Taiwan, living through the deaths of his father, mother and grandmother.

Directors: Hsiao-hsien Hou, Jia-hua Lao, and 2 more credits »
Stars: Chia-bao Chang, Neng Chang, Chih-chen Chen
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Director: Hsiao-hsien Hou
Stars: C. Chen Li, Hsiu-Ling Lin, Mei-Feng
Edit

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
Edit

Storyline

Add Full Plot | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Release Date:

21 October 1989 (Taiwan)  »

Also Known As:

Bei qing cheng shi  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the first Taiwanese film to be shot in direct sound. Director Hsiao-hsien Hou wanted to capture the varied dialects and accents of his actors, reflecting the film's concern for the complex, heterogeneous origins of modern Taiwan. See more »

Connections

Featured in Naamsaang-neuiseung (1998) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

One of the most powerful cinematic statements of our time
17 April 2004 | by (Vancouver, B.C.) – See all my reviews

On the evening of February 27th, 1947 in Taipei, police ruthlessly beat a woman selling illegal cigarettes and the next day opened fire on a protest demonstration outside the Presidential Palace. Years of resentment against a government increasingly defined by nepotism, corruption, and suppression of human rights exploded in open conflict. As soon as the troops arrived, they began the systematic round up and execution of scholars, lawyers, doctors, students and local leaders of the protest movement. In total between 18,000 and 28,000 people were murdered by Chinese troops sent from the mainland by Chiang Kai-shek. Thousands of others were arrested and imprisoned and martial law was established in what became known as the "White Terror" campaign.

Hou Hsiao-hsien's magnificent 1989 film, City of Sadness, brings to light the truth about the 1947 massacre known as the 2/28 incident. Winner of the Golden Lion Award at the 1989 Venice Film Festival, City of Sadness treats one of the key issues of Taiwanese history, yet is far from being a political film. Its focus is not on the bloodshed but on the consequences for a particular family and how individual experience is impacted by the flow of time and history. In the film, Wen-heung (Chen Sown-yung), the oldest of four Lin brothers, tries to hold the family together with the support of Ah-lu (Li Ten-lu), the family patriarch. A brutish, feverishly emotional man, he has turned his Japanese bar into a family restaurant known as "Little Shanghai" but finds his business undermined by ruthless Shanghai gangsters. The second brother, Wen-sun disappeared in the Philippines and is talked about but never seen in the film.

Brother number three, Wen-leung (Jack Gao) suffered mental problems as a direct result of the war and is bedridden at a local hospital. Amazingly, he recovers enough to deal with Shanghai drug smugglers but is framed as a Japanese collaborator and, after being beaten in prison, loses his mental balance again. The fourth Lin brother, Wen-ching is deaf and runs a photography studio. Wen-ching is involved with young anti-government socialists such as his friend Hinoe (Wu Yi-fang) who is forced to flee to the mountains to join the guerillas. Wen-ching also wants to join the movement but is persuaded to stay home and care for Hinoe's sister, Hinome (Hsin Shu-fen), a nurse, who loves him.

As in all of Hou's films, there are no peak moments of dramatic interest to which everything else is simply a build up. The camera simply records the events from a distance without judgment or evaluation, allowing the complexities of the characters and situations to gradually unfold. Everything is relevant -- taking care of the baby, eating, cleaning the floor, and washing the dishes. This attention to the ordinary makes us realize that history happens to everyone, not only in the battlefield, but also in the quiet of everyday life. Far from being bogged down in banality, however, the film achieves transcendence in moments such as Hinome and Wen-ching listening to a German folk song, Wen-ching imitating the voice of an opera singer when he was only eight, the solitary flight of a bird after a sudden death, and the gentle caressing voiceover of Hinome.

City of Sadness is a remarkable portrait of one of the most traumatic events in Taiwanese history and its popularity in Taiwan reflected its willingness to deal with a previously taboo subject. Hou said, "I didn't make A City of Sadness because I purposely wanted to open up old wounds'.but because I know that we have to face ourselves and our history if we are ever to understand who we are and where we're going." Though the film was criticized by some for being "politically ambiguous" and "historically inaccurate, the film's depiction of political events and its impact on Taiwan is clear and unmistakable. City of Sadness will not satisfy those seeking a political expose, but Hou's refusal to trivialize events for the sake of emotional appeal gives the film a universality of spirit that ensures its place among the most powerful cinematic statements of our time.


47 of 48 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
english subs ms2cat
How do I see this movie with English subs? ska_punk53
translation of text stills? ninjaalice
Theme music on NBC tagimaucia
Cambridge Arts cinema juda_ji
FILMS BY DIRECTOR HOU GIVEN AWAY myyang
Discuss A City of Sadness (1989) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?