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

8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 2,383 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 12 critic

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

Director:

(as Hsiao-Hsien Hou)
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Title: A City of Sadness (1989)

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

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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
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
Edit

Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

|

Release Date:

21 October 1989 (Taiwan)  »

Also Known As:

A Cidade da Dor  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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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

Followed by Good Men, Good Women (1995) 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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