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645 Ratings

A City of Sadness

Beiqing chengshi

Directed by Hou Hsiao-hsien
Taiwan, Hong Kong, 1989


This intimate epic chronicles the tragedies that befall the three Lin brothers, and those around them during a chaotic period in Taiwan’s national history, between the end of Japanese Imperial rule (1945) and the secession from Mainland China and creation of martial law (1949-1987).

A City of Sadness Directed by Hou Hsiao-hsien

Critics reviews

In what would become a trademark of the director’s approach to history, the camera only seems to pull farther from its characters as time elapses, a reminder that the more we learn about the central family’s personal lives and their sociopolitical context, the harder it is to define either.
October 08, 2014
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Who’s got time to talk about Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s long takes when there’s so much to be said about the feelings in his movies? A CITY OF SADNESS is the beautiful, massive expression Visconti, Kurosawa, Pontecorvo, Bertolucci, and Zhang spent their careers trying for but never achieved. Hou is less artful than any of them, and therefore more likely to produce art…
May 08, 2009
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By presenting the tragic consequences that resulted from the mainland authorities’ ever-escalating pattern of abuse of power, A City of Sadness compassionately articulates the suppressed, silent despair of a people repeatedly victimised as they search for inclusion and cultural identification.
May 22, 2003
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