Kino Světozor

A City of Sadness

A City of Sadness

(Beiqing chengshi) Director: Hou Hsiao-hsien, Hong-Kong - Taiwan, 1989, Taiwanese, Mandarin, Japanese, Chinese / Czech subtitles, 157 min

This epic story follows the fate of a Taiwanese family after the end of the Japanese occupation of the island at the end of World War II. Historical events freely mix with a fictional story of four brothers and their old father. One of the brothers owns a bar and remodels it according to the needs of the new times, another gets into drug dealing, the third hasn't returned from war and the forth, deaf brother owns and antique book store and is active in the patriotic movement. This masterfully shot film was created when censorship was freshly lifted in Taiwan and thus represents the author's first attempt at openly reflecting no-so-distant history.

Hou Hsiao-Hsien (1947)
HHH was born in mainland China, but his family soon moved to Taiwan. He was very much influenced by the transformation of the Taiwanese society from a cheerless chaos full of refugees to a "Western-style" modern society. HHH studied film at the Taipei university and in the 70-ies, worked mostly as a screenwriter and assistant director. The style of his early films was determined mostly by his effort to come to terms with the history of his country. However, his original use of sound and cinematography soon earned him acclaim at international festivals.


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