8.0/10
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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
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 »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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 »

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User Reviews

 
Quiet transcendence
26 January 2006 | by utp0130See all my reviews

A previous poster described this film as a Taiwanese Godfather, but better. Indeed, this film has a lot similarities to godfather, in which the most notable is the condensation of an entire nation into the life of one single family. Even though I never really come to love other Hou's films, City of Sadness is a flawless epic that truthfully depict an era that is forgotten by most of my generation. I have heard those stories from my paternal grandparents, who are like people portrait in the film, grass root Taiwanese. I have also heard stories from my maternal grandparents, who are the late comers from mainland China. The entire different perspectives surprised me that in such a small nation, mistrust is still profoundly rooted and transmitted via generations. City of Sadness portraits this image so hauntingly and yet with beautiful and quiet transcendence seeing the turmoil through the eyes of the deaf and mute son of the Lin family. Taiwan, the city of sadness, is eternally sorrowful because of its rootlessness, which until today, still runs in my blood.


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