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 »
This is definitely one of my all-time favorite movies. Before watching A City of Sadness, I subconsciously had this notion that somehow there were certain ways (or methods) feature narrative films should be made. Oh how wrong I was. Experiencing this movie was like the first time I saw Asian art, no more like the first time I tasted Chinese food as a kid. It was more than different. It was delightful! This film totally enlightened me! This poetic masterpiece changed the way I view cinema. This film which deals with modernity of Taiwan, feels more like a Confucian ritual, an ancestral rite of some sort. And at the same time like many of Hou Hsiao-hsien's other films, this movie deals with the theme of 'growth'. Hou seems to tell us over and over again that growth is learning to say goodbye to the things we love. One beautiful movie. I strongly recommend it to the cinephiles who haven't yet tasted this great cinematic treat.
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