Hou Hsiao-hsien

Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢; born 8 April 1947) is a Taiwanese film director, screenwriter, producer and actor. He is a leading figure in world cinema and in Taiwan’s New Wave cinema movement. He won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1989 for his film A City of Sadness (1989), and the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2015 for The Assassin (2015). Other highly regarded works of his include The Puppetmaster (1993) and Flowers of Shanghai (1998). Hou was voted “Director of the Decade” for the 1990s in a poll of American and international critics by The Village Voice and Film Comment. In a 1988 worldwide critics’ poll, Hou was championed as “one of the three directors most crucial to the future of cinema.” A City of Sadness ranked 117th in the British Film Institute’s 2012 Sight & Sound critics’ poll of the greatest films ever made. Hou’s films are often concerned with his experiences of growing up in rural Taiwan in the 1950s and 1960s. The 1950s marked a time in which refugee families from the mainland were struggling painfully for survival, while the 1960s saw the beginning of the most significant social change in modern Taiwan. The economic boom of that period meant the beginning of Western-style industrialization and urbanization. The normal frustrations of growing up were aggravated by these complicated changes, and Hou’s films are intimate expressions of those experiences.

Hou Hsiao-hsien Filmography

 

Poster for the movie "A City of Sadness"

A City of Sadness

Soon after Japan relinquishes control of Taiwan in 1945, the Lin brothers face hardships from the changing culture. Bar owner Wen-heung, the eldest brother, falls foul of local gangsters, Wen-sun disappears, and Wen-leung, scarred by his experiences in the war, ends up in an insane asylum. Deaf-mute photographer Wen-ching, the youngest brother, decides to make a stand and fight the Kuomintang government from China that is assuming power.

Flight of the Red Balloon

The first part in a new series of films produced by Musée d’Orsay, ‘Flight of the Red Balloon’ tells the story of a French family as seen through the eyes of a Chinese student. The film was shot in August and September 2006 on location in Paris. This is Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s first Western film. It is based on the classic French short The Red Balloon directed by Albert Lamorisse.

Millennium Mambo

Taipei. A voice off-camera looks back ten years to 2000, when Vicky was in an on-again off-again relationship with Hao-Hao…

The Sandwich Man

Composed of three separate stories, the film vividly portrays Taiwan during the cold war period when the country developed its economy with help from the United States.

The Assassin

A female assassin during the Tang Dynasty who begins to question her loyalties when she falls in love with one of her targets.