35mm collection print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive
“Ravishing visuals and remarkable rigor are hallmarks of Hou’s exquisite 1998 masterpiece, set in several ornate brothels (or ‘flower houses’) in late-nineteenth-century Shanghai. There, amidst the opium haze, courtesans (‘flower girls’) and their gentlemen callers enact elaborate rituals of commerce, courtship, and romance. Hou tells the story of five such ‘flowers’; his sensitivity to the social position and inner emotional lives of these women recalls the great geisha films of Japanese masters Naruse and Mizoguchi. Shooting entirely within the studio, Hou employs long takes, breathtaking compositions, subtle camera movements, and blackout transitions to conjure up a lavish, insular lost world of extraordinary intricacy. Tony Leung and Michiko Hada star. ‘Perfect … One of the most beautiful films ever made’ (Phillip Lopate, New York Times).”
Media Source: UCLA Film & Television Archive / Rights: Shochiku Studios
Language: In Shanghainese and Cantonese with English subtitles
Running time: 113min
Director: Hou Hsiao-hsien
Films and schedules may be subject to change.
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