Film studies Hou Hsiao-Hsien

City_of_Sadness (1990) by Hou Hsiao-Hsien

A City of Sadness

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A City of Sadness
City of Sadness.jpg

Japanese DVD cover
Directed by Hou Hsiao-Hsien
Produced by Chiu Fu-sheng
Written by Chu Tien-wen
Wu Nien-jen
Starring Tony Leung Chiu Wai
Sung Young Chen
Jack Kao
Li Tian-lu
Music by S.E.N.S.
Cinematography Chen Huai-en
Edited by Liao Ching-song
3-H Films
Distributed by Era Communications (Int’l rights)
Release dates
  • 4 September 1989(Venice Film Festival)
  • October 1989 (Taiwan)
Running time
157 minutes
Country Taiwan
Language Taiwanese

A City of Sadness (Chinese: 悲情城市; pinyin: bēiqíng chéngshì) is a 1989 Taiwanese historical drama film directed byHou Hsiao-Hsien. It tells the story of a family embroiled in the tragic “White Terror” that was wrought on the Taiwanese people by the Kuomintang government (KMT) after their arrival from mainland China in the late 1940s, during which thousands of Taiwanese were rounded up, shot, and/or sent to prison. The film was the first to deal openly with the KMT’s authoritarian misdeeds after its 1945 turnover of Taiwan from Japan, and the first to depict the 228 Incident of 1947, in which thousands of people were massacred.

A City of Sadness was the first Taiwanese film to win the Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival. In recent years, many critics have hailed it as a masterpiece; in the British Film Institute’s 2012 Sight & Sound poll, 14 critics and two directors named it one of the greatest films ever made, placing it at #117 in the critics’ poll and #322 in the directors’. The film was selected as the Taiwanese entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 62nd Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.

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