Profound tale of Taivan's history is shown from the point of four brothers, their intense and dramatic lives during the shifting moments in the country. Hsiao-Hsien Hou's film gives unusual structure full of detailed views of day-to-day life, social and economic conditions, but most of all this striking poetic feeling of Taiwanese cultural identity.
Most enjoyable of the trilogy. I watched a beautiful 35mm print, enjoyed every frame of it. The film begins with an extensive written prologue accompanied by photos explaining Taiwan's post WW2 history(Nationalists vs Communists) and its effect on one family. So not tediously political but also a good history lesson. Tony Leung steals the show with a non speaking role.
One of my favourite subgenres - the individual submerged by the weight of history. HHH creates an intimate tragedy about the ways in which the political is always personal, and unrest in national stability often cause neglected (or sanctioned) casualties. I had minor issues (prob cultural) with recognising all characters/relationships, easily overlooked by gorgeous tableaux and Hou's epic vision.
Immeasurably more valid than ‘The Godfather’ but the rose-tinted Stockholm syndrome ensures it as little more than dramatist disaster porn laid on too thickly with the metaphors of disability. The iris is unmistakingly arthouse but the crux of the film unmitigatedly collapses under its own weight of excessive humanism and exploitation of tragedy, rendering it with less objectivity and sincerity than prescribed.
Una película sobre lo decadente. Es la mirada a una familia en tiempos de la represión política. Lo que inicia como un proceso de independencia, no es más que una transcisión. Hsiao-Hsien, típico de su cine, indaga en los lazos familiares. Sus conflictos no son mas que motivados por la coyuntura, una que trae carencias, violencia y miedo. Lo mejor es la austeridad temporal. De un momento a otro son años más tarde.
Beautiful film, one with such a realistic and sweeping depiction of the most tumultuous period for Taiwan as a young nation that I felt bound to the hopes and fears of the characters. The martial law years are not a topic the grandmothers and grandfathers of Taiwan are eager to discuss-- and for this reason I feel inclined to love the film all the more, knowing the quiet sorrow in which the Taiwanese endured onward.
Hou Hsiao-hsien is a great storyteller for Taiwan who pioneered in retelling stories of some very horrific an painful events that have been a taboo topic during martial law years. Instead of portraying horror and pointing blaming fingers, he took a different approach, coherent with meditative style of his filmmaking. Hou's films are an existential lament about tragedies that people face in winds of historical changes
Slow burning detailed depiction of Taiwan after WWII through a family. Many shots are simple and unglamorous yet wonderful flowing with the calm pace of the film as time continually passes. Yet the pace and at times the lack of comprehension in the plot is irritating as history continually unfolds in the background with little detail with only familial effects depicted as minimalism is at times pushed too far.
some films can be called a "national cinema," a film that defines a nation--and many of them are not necessary good cinema, like "Gone With the Wind" for the US, "Les Enfants du Paradis" for France. but for Taiwan, not only that "A City of Sadness" is a film that defines their nation, this is also truly great cinema. not so many people are that lucky--like "The Marriage of Maria Braun" for the germans.