Hou Hsiao-hsien, Flowers of Shanghai, 1998 (still); image: courtesy Shochiku Co.
Film

Flowers of Shanghai

Part of Modern Cinema: Jia Zhangke

Phyllis Wattis Theater

$5 Members

$12 General

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


Film Details

Country: Taiwan/Japan

Language: In Shanghainese and Cantonese with English subtitles

Year: 1998

Running time: 113min

Format: 35mm

Director: Hou Hsiao-hsien


Films and schedules may be subject to change.

Modern Cinema’s Founding Supporters are Carla Emil and Rich Silverstein. Generous support is provided by Nion McEvoy and the Susan Wildberg Morgenstein Fund.

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