Intended as the concluding film in the trilogy on the modern history of Taiwan began with Beiqing Chengshi (1989), this film reveals the story through three levels: a film within a film as ... See full summary »
Based on a true story, primarily on a conflict between two youth gangs, a 14-year-old boy's girlfriend conflicts with the head of one gang for an unclear reason, until finally the conflict comes to a violent climax.
This film is definitely one of the best historical film i have ever seen!
... putting aside all those clichés most filmmakers are tend to use: there is no such thing as heroic portrayal of martyrs or the use of extremely artificial dramatic art. That makes this film believable and, compared to others, very unique.
Normally you would have a narrator who is telling you the story from his point of view. Now, i don't want to say that i dismiss this way of narration but "A city of sadness" does not need such a narrator; in fact it would shatter the special specific atmosphere of this movie if that would be the case. Without definitive narrative elements, the staging normally involves (narration/music/DP etc), the viewer gets the feeling that he is able to see for himself what the lives of those people were like when WWII ended. It is fascinating to witness how this very sober staging is still able to evoke strong emotions within the viewer. This is due to the directors vision but also to the cast which did an amazing job.
It was also very clever to have the deaf Wen-Ch'ing as the main character so the viewer can sympathize with him very easily: like Wen-Ch'ing the viewer is kind of caught up within the political turbulence and is not to able react like he would want because he is mute ... and is therefore not able to speak up in a loud voice to stop the violence. He is forced to watch.
Even today the topic Taiwan/China isn't solved at all. After watching this film people will surely get a better understanding why the struggle between China and Taiwan is so filled with anger, sadness, fury ...
so ... that's definitely a must-see!! ;)
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