20th ANNIVERSARY PRESENTATION! NEW 35mm PRINT! ► “A family epic as expansive as The Godfather" (Godfrey Cheshire, Film Comment), the magnificent A City of Sadness is perhaps the finest film of Taiwan’s Hou Hsiao-Hsien (The Puppetmaster, Flowers of Shanghai, Flight of the Red Balloon), one of world cinema’s greatest masters. We are pleased to present this essential work in a new 35mm print struck to mark the film’s 20th anniversary. Winner of the Golden Lion at Venice in 1989, Hou’s panoramic tale takes in the four tumultuous years from 1945, when Japan surrendered Taiwan to China at the end of World War II, to 1949, when Chiang Kai Shek established his Nationalist government on the island after fall of the mainland to the Communists. The period is related from the complex perspective of one family: aging widower Lin, his four sons (a gangster, a missing doctor, an accused wartime collaborator, and a leftist photographer), and their wives. The film is dark, richly textured, and visually exquisite, and ignited controversy at home for its treatment of a long-taboo subject: the brutal repression of the Taiwanese independence movement by the Nationalist Chinese. It was only after A City of Sadness won the Venice festival that the government permitted it to screen uncut in Taiwan. “A major achievement. Complex, dense and demanding, it repays attention with the pleasures only intelligent, sensual and emotionally charged cinema can give" (David Overbey, Toronto I.F.F.). Colour, 35mm, in Mandarin, Hokkien, Cantonese and Japanese with English subtitles. 158 mins.
Acknowledgements: Pacific Cinémathèque is grateful to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Los Angeles and Bernardo Rondeau of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for making this presentation possible.
"Remarkable and beautiful . . . One of the supreme masterworks of the contemporary cinema."Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader |
"A masterpiece of small gestures and massive resonance . . . Surrender to its spell."Tony Rayns, Time Out |
"A City of Sadness remains a powerful piece of work, and one of the most artistically and politically daring films ever to have been made in and about Taiwan."Clarence Tsui, South China Morning Post |