Tony Chiu-Wai Leung in Flowers of Shanghai (1998)
Tony Chiu-Wai Leung in Flowers of Shanghai (1998)
Flowers of Shanghai (1998)

The Melbourne Cinémathèque & ACMI present

Flowers of Shanghai

Hou Hsiao-Hsien | Taiwan | 1998 | Unclassified (15+)

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Wed 22 Mar 2023

Hou’s beautiful adaptation of a late 19th century novel set in the “flower houses” of Shanghai’s European concession is an extraordinarily hermetic and dreamlike portrait of its circumscribed characters (including Leung in a stellar performance). Hou’s slow dance-like film has a languid, almost-elastic quality, drawing us into the lost and melancholy world of the brothels and their inhabitants as they make their way through the intimate, intricate, ritualised interiors. In this remarkable, atmospheric, somnambulistic film – shot entirely in Taiwan by the great Lee Ping-Bin – the past is indeed another country.

Format: DCP
Language: Shanghainese and Cantonese with English subtitles
Source: Janus
Runtime: 113 mins

Event duration

113 mins


Unclassified (15+)


Cinema 1, Level 2
ACMI, Fed Square

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Also screening on Wed 22 March

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, while 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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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.

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