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HOU HSIAO-HSIEN

Taiwan

Born: Meixiam Kuangtung Province, China, 1947.


Hou Hsiao-Hsien (JPG, 12 KB)

His family joined the exodus to Taiwan in 1948, and he spent his childhood in Hualien. After his discharge from the military in 1969 he studied film at the National Taiwan Arts Academy. In 1973 he began work as continuity director and later assistant director to Li Hsin, Lai Cheng-ying, and Chen Kun-Hou, for whom he also wrote scripts. He made his directorial debut in 1980 with Cute Girls. The Time to Live and the Time to Die (1985), an autobiographical story of his family's adjustment to life in Taiwan, filmed at his childhood home and neighbourhood, won the International Critics Award at the 1986 Berlin Film Festival. Hou continued exploring his concern over the displacement between city and country in 1986's Dust in the Wind, about a young couple who quite high school and move to Taipei, and 1987's Daughter of the Nile, about the disintegration of a family on the edge of Taipei as seen through the eyes of the daughter (which won a special jury award at the Torino Film Festival). Hou's international reputation rose even more with 1989's A City of Sadness, a national epic about the birth of Taiwan set between the end of World War II and mainland China's fall to the Communists in 1949, starring Hong Kong star Tony Leung.

Ephraim Katz, The Film Encylopedia



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