8.1/10
3,466
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

No.5 in the Hong Kong Film Awards' List of The Best 100 Chinese Motion Pictures See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hou Hsiao-Hsien Master Class (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A very moving time travel to post-war Taiwan
8 January 2008 | by kmevySee all my reviews

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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