Splendors and miseries of Chinese courtesans filmed by the great Hou Hsiao-hsien
At the end of the 19th century, in the British concession of Shanghai. Several “houses of flowers”, reserved for the male elite, form a closed world where people come as much to dine, smoke opium, play mah-jong and have fun as to meet courtesans. The women who work there are called “the flowers of Shanghai”. Wang, a high official, is the official client of the sublime and spendthrift Rubis. In another house, he also frequents Jasmin…
Filmed in a succession of sequence shots, the hallmark of its director Hou Hsiao-hsien, The Flowers of Shanghai is revealed as a series of nocturnal tableaux of hypnotic beauty. The filmmaker depicts an ultra-codified society where, behind appearances, the theater of human tragedy is played out. A source of inspiration claimed by Bertrand Bonello for his Apollonide (2011), Les Fleurs de Shanghai is to be discovered for the first time in its sublime 4K restoration!
by Hou Hsiao-hsien (1998 – Colors) New 4K Restoration Original version with French subtitles
.A FLOATING WORLD (19 mins) “ The Flowers of Shanghai is a pivotal film in the filmmaker's career, which takes place both outside Taiwan and outside the historical context to which it belongs. An interview with Jean-Michel Frodon, critic at Slate.fr and professor at Sciences Po Paris.