Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
Original title: Beiqing Chengshi
Overly convoluted plot is so confusing that even those with an extensive knowledge of Taiwan’s political history will have trouble following the action. The story focuses on a family of four brothers, one of them long-gone to war and presumed dead, the other three left to deal with the country’s turbulent transition from Japanese rule to Chinese command following Japan’s surrender at the end of World War II. One brother is trying to run a successful business and take care of his family, the second is a Shanghai gangster who goes mad following his troubles with the law, and the third is a deaf-mute photographer who finds love amid the horror he is forced to witness. The film jumps between time frames constantly in the most confusing manner, and its heavy running time is eventually too hard to take.
Toronto International Film Festival: 1989
Venice Film Festival Award: Golden Lion