Netflix Buys Taiwan Drama ‘Cities of Last Things’ (EXCLUSIVE)Variety — Patrick Frater
“Cities of Last Things,” an award-winning Taiwanese black drama where the story is told in reverse chronological order, has been acquired for streaming by global online giant Netflix. The film is expected to be available on the platform from July 11.
The film opens with images of a man hurling himself to his death off a multi-story apartment building. It goes on to reveal the man’s experience of three eras, three seasons, and three nights, compacted into one single night in the same city, and told in reverse chronological order.
Directed by Malaysian-born, New York-educated Ho Wi Ding, the film had its premiere at the Toronto festival in September last year. There it won the prize for best film in the experimental Platform section. Toronto festival director and CEO Piers Handling described the film as “a very twisting interior tale of a man trying to exorcise his demons.”
“Cities” has since played at numerous other festivals including Pingyao, The Golden Horse, Busan, Rotterdam, Seattle, Tokyo Filmex, Palm Springs and Brussels International Fantasy Film Festival. It has had commercial outings to date in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. “We are now very happy that with Netflix, this Asian Chinese-language film will reach a global audience,” said Ho.
The film stars Huang Lu (aka Lulu Huang) (“Blind Mountain,” “She A Chinese”,) rising Chinese actor and Golden Horse winner Hong-Chi Lee (‘Thanatos Drunk,” “Long Day’s Journey Into Night”), seasoned Taiwanese actor Jack Kao (“Millennium Mambo,” ‘Time and Tide”,) and French actress Louise Grinberg (‘The Class,” “The Prayer”).
The film was produced through Ho’s Taiwan-based Changhe Films (“Pinoy Sunday”,) along with “Crazy Rich Asians” producer Ivanhoe Pictures, Singapore’s MM2 Asia, and France’s Rumble Fish Productions. The credited producers are Ho, Winnie Lau, and Alexis Perrin.
Ho’s next project is a romance thriller “Until the Morning Comes,” which is set in Taipei’s lively nightlife area Ximending and is expected to go into production from next Spring. Like “Cities” it will be shot on 35mm film.