8.1/10
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12 user 12 critic

A City of Sadness (1989)

Bei qing cheng shi (original title)
A beautiful, historical film based upon the complex lives of four brothers.

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8 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Shu-fen Hsin ...
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
Chien-ru Huang
Tian-Lu Li ...
Ah-lu
Ju Lin
Lih-Ching Lin ...
(as Liqing Lin)
Ikuyo Nakamura ...
Shizuko
Chen-Nan Tsai
Chang-Chiang Yang
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Storyline

A beautiful, historical film based upon the complex lives of four brothers.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

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Details

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Release Date:

21 October 1989 (Taiwan)  »

Also Known As:

A Cidade da Dor  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 1989, Hou Hsiao-hsien's A City of Sadness, the first film to touch on the 228 Incident, a taboo subject in Taiwan, became a big hit in the theaters. As a result Jioufen, where the film was set, revived due to the film's popularity. The nostalgic scenery of Jioufen as seen in the film, as well as appearances in other media, charmed many people into visiting Jioufen. For the beginning of the 90s, Jioufen experienced a tourist boom that has shaped the town as a tourist attraction. Soon retro-Chinese style cafés, tea houses, and souvenir stores bearing the name "City of Sadness" were built. See more »

Connections

Followed by The Puppetmaster (1993) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Beautiful; a Taiwanese "Godfather," but better.
7 January 2001 | by (Burke, Virginia, USA) – See all my reviews

This is the only one of Hou Hsiao-hsien's films I caught at a retrospective of his work, and it's a tragedy because this film is so incredibly good. Hou's rigorous formal approach (highly geometrical framing, repetitive shots along axes, distinctive use of lived-in colors) provides a framework for the film to operate within its own world. Whereas Coppola's "Godfather" goes this way and that, without a significant coherence, visually or rhythmically, "City of Sadness" feels like an elegy to Taiwan and the family (in much the same way that "Underground" is an ode to what was once Yugoslavia). At times funny, sorrowful, and invigorating, I suppose that what makes this film so special is that it refuses to operate in "big moments" and focuses, like Ozu (who Hou is often compared to) on the little events that make life what it really is.


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