7.9/10
3,721
12 user 17 critic

A City of Sadness (1989)

Beiqíng chéngshì (original title)
A beautiful, historical film based upon the complex lives of four brothers.

Director:

Hsiao-Hsien Hou
Reviews
8 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Tony Chiu-Wai Leung ... Wen-ching (as Tony Chiu Wai Leung)
Shu-Fen Hsin Shu-Fen Hsin ... Hinome
Sung Young Chen ... Wen-heung
Jack Kao ... Wen Leung
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Wou Yi Fang Wou Yi Fang ... Hinoiei
Ai-Yun Ho Ai-Yun Ho ... Bg Brother Chie
Chien-Ho Huang Chien-Ho Huang
Chien-ru Huang Chien-ru Huang
Chi-Ying Kao Chi-Ying Kao ... Shopkeeper
Tien-Lu Li Tien-Lu Li ... Ah-lu (as Tian-Lu Li)
Ju Lin Ju Lin
Lih-Ching Lin Lih-Ching Lin ... (as Liqing Lin)
Ikuyo Nakamura Ikuyo Nakamura ... Shizuko
Chen-Nan Tsai
Chang-Chiang Yang 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

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Hong Kong | Taiwan

Release Date:

21 October 1989 (Taiwan) See more »

Also Known As:

A City of Sadness See more »

Filming Locations:

Hokkien, China See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,737
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to mangaka Kengo Hanazawa, this film was an inspiration for director Hayao Miyazaki's "Spirited Away" movie. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Beautiful; a Taiwanese "Godfather," but better.
7 January 2001 | by Zach CampbellSee 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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