Bei qing cheng shi (A City of Sadness) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Bei qing cheng shi (A City of Sadness) Reviews

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Super Reviewer
November 30, 2016
This strong and resonant historical drama has a deliberate pacing and takes a good time to shape what it wants to say and find a focus, but the waiting is more than worth it and the result full of significance, even if it may be hard for the viewers to follow its intricate narrative.
June 14, 2016
I love films like this. It's a glimpse at the lives of normal people living through major historical events. I find them engrossing as you feel their struggles and heartbreaks. Combining that with excellent acting and filmaking, A City of Sadness is easily one of the best films to come out of Taiwan.
½ November 27, 2013
beautiful family saga
April 18, 2013
It's understandable that "native" Taiwanese have affinity for Japan since they tended to look upon their colonial experience with Japan as a reasonably tolerable and efficacious interlude between ineffectual Ch'ing Dynasty rule and rapacious Chinese Nationalist rule.
February 18, 2013
hou hsiao-hsien rocks my world. my other
November 23, 2012
One of the only films I've ever seen in which I required access to a synopsis through the entirety of the PICTURE, but it was worth it. Hou is a completely unique filmmaker, Dawg.
½ June 7, 2012
1/2" 1/2> 1/2'? 1/4就~->(TM),, (R)簡樸,,~ 1/4''>-歡(TM)? 3/4
November 21, 2011
This movie started a movement in the Taiwanese film world (the New Wave), and I can see why. The entire style of the movie, from cinematography, camerawork, and candid dialogue, places viewers right into the time of early Japanese post-colonialism in Taiwan. The minimalist lighting and natural setting takes away from the superficial, set-up world of many studio films. The sometimes agonizingly long pans of long shots seems to push audience members away from being "involved" in the story line of the movie, but in doing so, it actually reveals a candid quality--like being a fly on the wall, watching quietly as events unfold. If you're accustomed to watching lots of studio films, however, this movie can take some getting-used to. As the film progresses, viewers are aware of each character's role in the story and what their relationship is to one another, but characters are difficult to relate to and there's little space for "development," characters don't really transform over time--they sort of are just there--living their lives (which is a hallmark of Taiwanese New Wave films). However, A City of Sadness really set the standard to films that tell it like it is. In fact, when comparing this film to Ang Lee's "Lust Caution" (with the same male lead actor), very direct parallels can be made.
May 28, 2011
Depressingly boring and full of unexplained references that would be unknown to someone unfamiliar with Taiwanese history, as well as actions that aren't conveyed through film as well as they should be. I also found the style of filmmaking to be dated, with more in common with something by Ozu than a film from the 80s, and while it's not a bad thing I can't help but feel it should have been more. It's by no means a bad movie, but I would be hard pressed to call it one of the best movies ever made.
½ January 25, 2011
I guess I was just in the wrong mood to watch this cinematic classic.
½ October 11, 2010
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September 24, 2010
This is the movie that made Hou famous, when he became the first Chinese director to win Berlin festival. Its one of his more heavily political films that deals with the transition of Taiwan from being the part of the Japanese Empire and into the hands of Chinese Nationalists. I liked it, but not so much as his other films. In general I think that his second 'trilogy' dedicated to politics is less interesting that his other films. Obviously, I am simply not Taiwanese.
April 3, 2010
Great films do this - they get better with each passing year. Masterclass. Makes one yearn to visit Taiwan everytime.

Can't wait to make one about Singapore's own white terror campaign of the 60s when LKY passes on. Will make Tourism Board tout it too.
March 14, 2010
LETTERBOX. Es admirable tanto por su ambicin narrativa como por su rigor y delicadeza estilsticas, pero resulta excesivamente distanciada y formal. / It is admirable for its narrative ambition as well as its stylistic rigor and delicacy, but ends up being too distant and formal.
½ February 20, 2010
Structurally and stylistically, City of Sadness is Hou's most audacious and uncompromising film up to that date, the first complete elaboration of the stylistics that dominate his subsequent work. One can define his style partly by reference to two great Japanese masters who may or may not be direct influences. Like Ozu, he prefers a static camera, but, like Mizoguchi, long takes
January 22, 2010
As martial law was finally abolished in Taiwan, a previously restrained political element found it's way into Hou Hsiao-hsien's movies. In the masterful City Of Sadness Hou challenges the official KMT-sanctioned history of modern Taiwan by bringing attention to the 228 incident of 1947 and the ensuing period of white terror on the island. The epic pretentions are, as in Hou's previous movies, kept in check by focusing on the intimacy of the family unit, with keen attention to details, everyday chores and trivia. Action is limited to a minimum, with seemingly haphazard bursts of violence shot from a distance.
January 18, 2010
Long lens,a perfect Hsiao-hsien
½ January 12, 2010
Hou Hsiao-Hsien zählt zu den gro?en Regisseuren des Gegenwartskinos, die ich noch fast gar nicht kenne. Das sollte sich dringend ändern: A CITY OF SADNESS hat mich seiner ganz eigenen, seltsamen, zurückgenommenen Poesie sehr fasziniert. Hou gelingt es, unglaublich viel zu erzählen (Zeit- wie Familiengeschichte) in einem Film, in dem sehr oft nicht allzu viel geschieht. Sein Blick ist meist ein wenig neben dem Geschehen, in den alltäglichen Verrichtungen der von ihrer Zeit gebeutelten Protagonisten verhaftet, und von unbedingtem Willen zur Poesie geprägt. Anders als so, scheint Hou zu sagen, kann man von gro?en historischen Prozessen nicht erzählen und wahrhaftig bleiben. Es hei?t allerorten, dieser Film sei sehr schwierig. Das ist Unfug. Nichts ist hier codiert, oder unzugänglich. Er fordert nur knappe drei Stunden Konzentration und einen aufmerksamen Blick. Wenn das schon zuviel verlangt ist...
December 21, 2009
The film that introduced Taiwanese cinema to the world. Hugely politically controversial without ever losing sight of the characters and their universal problems. The story unfolds in an impressionistic way, revealing bit by bit the complexities of a family developing during the 40s. You may find yourself confused at times, but the everyday moments captured, are without artifice and completely honest. Silence and stillness are juxtaposed with violence and sudden action. The framing is without fault and HHH clearly established himself as a accomplished filmmaker with extreme confidence.
December 20, 2009
A period of Taiwan history my knowledge of which has been sketchy. Long but beautifully filmed.
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