Family portrait - A City of Sadness
Family portrait - A City of Sadness
A City of Sadness (1989)

The Melbourne Cinémathèque & ACMI present

A City of Sadness

Hou Hsiao-Hsien | Taiwan | 1989 | M

Hou’s most successful film in Taiwan is a complex, panoramic and politically bold family saga beautifully shot by Chen Huai-En. Set at the time of the formation of modern Taiwan, between the end of World War II and Nationalist China’s fall to the Communists in 1949, it is the director’s most ambitious and expansive work. The film’s remarkable dramatic thrust lies in its constant evocation of the precariousness of its characters’ lives, as well as its status as the first movie to openly deal with the 'white terror' unleashed by the Kuomintang government. Starring Leung and Jack Kao.

35mm print courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive, Australia.

Format: 35mm
Language: Taiwanese, Mandarin, Japanese, Cantonese and Shanghainese with English subtitles
Source: NFSA
Courtesy: National Film and Sound Archive, Australia
Duration: 157 mins



157 mins




Cinema 1, Level 2
ACMI, Fed Square

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Also screening on Wed 5 April

About the program

Quiet and introspective as a child and outcast by his parents’ separation, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai (1962–) never aspired to much. In 1982, whilst working as an appliance salesman, Leung was encouraged to take up acting by his childhood friend, Stephen Chow...

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Tony Leung Chiu-Wai under an umbrella in Lust, Caution (2007)

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About Melbourne Cinémathèque

Australia's longest-running film society, Melbourne Cinémathèque screens significant works of international cinema in the medium they were created, the way they would have originally screened.

Melbourne Cinémathèque is self-administered, volunteer-run, not-for-profit and membership-driven. 

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Melbourne Cinémathèque - Dirk Bogarde in a still from Victim