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Flowers of Shanghai

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Director: Hou Hsiao Hsien, Hou Hsiao Hsien, Hou Hsiao Hsien, Hou Hsiao Hsien
1998 / 113min / DCP

A floating camera drifts through the candlelit, opium-drenched dens of 1880s Shanghai in Hou’s elegant film of longing and long takes, adapted from Han Bangqing’s 1892 Wu language novel The Sing-song Girls of Shanghai, a classic that was translated into Mandarin Chinese and English by Chang. A quietly devastating, expertly modulated drama of intrigue and romance among the high-end “flower girl” courtesans and their wealthy patrons, one of the latter played by the peerless Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Flowers of Shanghai ranks frequently as among the best films of the ’90s.

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