Flowers of Shanghai
Hou's beautiful adaptation of a late ninteenth century novel, set in the "flower houses" of Shanghai's European concession, is an extraordinarily hermetic and dreamlike portrait of the rituals defining the exterior and interior lives of its circumscribed characters.
Hou's slow dance-like film has a languid and almost elastic quality, drawing us into the lost and melancholy world of the brothels, positioning us alongside the characters as they make their way through intimate, intricate interiors.
In this remarkable, atmospheric, almost somnambulistic film - shot entirely in Taiwan by the great Ping Bin Lee - the past is indeed another country. With Tony Leung Chiu-wai.