'Cities of Last Things': Netflix adds twisted dystopian neo-noir to its growing list of Chinese-language content

Malaysian director Ho Wi Ding's fifth feature film is an intriguing sci-fi drama that tells the story of a bitter police officer caught in a downward spiral


                            'Cities of Last Things': Netflix adds twisted dystopian neo-noir to its growing list of Chinese-language content

'Cities of Last Things' was first released in 2018 at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Malaysian director Ho Wi Ding's fifth feature film is an intriguing sci-fi drama that tells the story of a bitter police officer caught in a downward spiral. The film uses the reverse-chronological order writing device to full effect.

Ho Wi Ding wrote, directed and produced the movie along with Hu Chi Hsin, Winnie Lau, Alexis Perrin and Ronan Wong.

A Taiwan/China/France/US co-production, 'Cities of Last Things' is a story about a man who starts experiencing extraordinary events in his mundane life, according to the official synopsis. The movie uses three different eras of his life—three seasons and three nights—that are narrated in reverse chronology. 

'Cities of Last Things' won the Platform Prize, an award presented to films of "high artistic merit that also demonstrate a strong directorial vision" at TIFF 2018. The festival director and CEO Piers Handling called the film "a very twisting interior tale of a man trying to exorcise his demons". It was a success with the audience and critics alike.

Still from 'Cities of Last Things' (Image: Twitter)

The story opens with the suicide of Taiwanese police officer Zhang Dong Ling (portrayed by Jack Kao in the first segment, Lee Hong-chi in the second, and Hsieh Chang-Ying in the third), and then tells the three major incidents that led to him making the fateful decision—in reverse chronological order.

At first, the movie may come across as daunting considering how it is tricky to follow Zhang Dong Ling's arc in reverse order.

Netflix recently added a plethora of Chinese-language content to its roster, licensing six new titles that will be coming to the streaming service in the second half of the year.

Netflix is not allowed to operate in China, but it has a massive appetite for content from the country.

Over the next few months, Netflix's first Chinese-language original series are expected to launch. These include 'Nowhere Man', 'Triad Princess' and 'the Ghost Bride'. 

In addition to this, there are 'A Thousand Goodnights' (a story about a daughter carrying out her father's wish and discovering her roots and finding love and redemption on her journey across Taiwan), 'Pili Fantasy: War of Dragons' (a popular glove puppetry show from Taiwan that is on air since 1988), 'Sexy Central' (a show about five young women and their experiences of betrayal, and unrequited love), ''Til Death Do Us Part' (an anthology spanning seven stories that explore one's fears and desires when everything is at stake), and 'Mayday Life' (a fact-based movie about Taiwanese mega-band Mayday on its 'Life Tour' concert series, recorded live in 55 cities and 122 shows). 

'Cities of Last Things' comes to Netflix on July 11, 2019. You can watch the trailer below.



 

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