|Chinese name||侯孝賢 (Traditional)|
|Chinese name||侯孝贤 (Simplified)|
|Pinyin||Hóu Xiàoxián (Mandarin)|
April 8, 1947 |
Mei County, Guangdong, China
Hou Hsiao-Hsien (simplified Chinese: 侯孝贤; traditional Chinese: 侯孝賢; pinyin: Hóu Xiàoxián; Wade–Giles: Hou2 Hsiao4-hsien2) (born April 8, 1947) is a Taiwanese actor, singer, producer and director. He is a leading figure of Taiwan's New Wave cinema movement.
A Hakka, Hou Hsiao-Hsien was born in Mei County, Guangdong province in 1947. He and his family fled the Chinese Civil War to Taiwan the following year. Hou was educated at the National Taiwan Academy of the Arts.
Hou generally makes rigorously minimalist dramas dealing with the upheavals of the Taiwanese (and occasionally larger Chinese) history of the past century by viewing its impacts on individuals or small groups of characters. A City of Sadness (1989), for example, portrays a family caught in conflicts between the local Taiwanese and the newly arrived Chinese Nationalist government after World War II. It was groundbreaking for broaching this long-taboo subject and became a major success despite its seemingly uncommercial nature.
His storytelling is elliptical and his style marked by extreme long takes with minimal camera movement but intricate choreography of actors and space within the frame. He uses extensive improvisation to arrive at the final shape of his scenes and the low-key, naturalistic acting of his performers. His compositions are decentered, and links between shots do not adhere to an obvious temporal or causal narrative logic. Without abandoning his famous austerity, his imagery has developed a sensual beauty during the 1990s, partly under the influence of his collaboration with cinematographer Mark Lee Ping-Bin. Hou's consistent screenwriting collaborator since the mid-1980s has been the renowned author Chu Tien-Wen, a collaboration that began with the screenplay for Chen Kunhou's 1983 film, Growing Up. He has also cast revered puppeteer Li Tian-lu as an actor in several of his movies, most notably The Puppetmaster (1993), which is based on Li's life.
Hou's films have been awarded prizes from prestigious international festivals such as the Venice Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Hawaii International Film Festival and the Nantes Three Continents Festival. Six of his films to date have been nominated for the Palme d'Or (best film award) at the Cannes Film Festival, though the prize has so far eluded him. Hou was voted "Director of the Decade" for the 1990s in a poll of American and international critics put together by The Village Voice and Film Comment. Despite such acclaim, his work remains rarely distributed in the West outside of the film festival circuit.
He directed the Japanese film Café Lumière (2003) for the Shochiku studio as an homage to Yasujirō Ozu; the film premiered at a festival commemorating the centenary of Ozu's birth. The film deals with themes reminiscent of Ozu - tensions between parents and children and between tradition and modernity - in Hou's typically indirect manner. In 2005 his film Three Times - which features three stories of love set in 1911, 1966 and 2005 using the same actors, Shu Qi and Chang Chen - was the latest to be nominated for a Palme d'Or; it received glowing reviews instead.
In August 2006, Hou embarked on his first Western project. Filmed and financed entirely in France, Flight of the Red Balloon (2007) is the story of a French family as seen through the eyes of a Chinese student. The film is the first part in a series of films sponsored by the Musee d'Orsay and stars Juliette Binoche. In 2010, Hou directed the 3D short film for Taipei Pavilion in Expo 2010 Shanghai China.
Hou has also had some acting experience, appearing as the lead in fellow Taiwanese New Wave auteur Edward Yang's 1984 film, Taipei Story. Hou starred as Lung, a former Minor League baseball star who is stuck operating an old-style fabric business, longing for his past days of glory. Lung becomes alienated from his girlfriend and tries to find his way in the city of Taipei.
As director 
|Year||English Title||Original Title||Notes|
|1980||Cute Girls||就是溜溜的她||First full length feature film|
|1982||The Green, Green Grass of Home||在那河畔青草青|
|1983||The Sandwich Man||兒子的大玩偶||Directed with Wan Ren and Tseng chuang-hsiang|
|1983||The Boys From Fengkuei||風櫃來的人||Golden Montgolfiere at the 1984 Three Continents Festival|
|1984||A Summer at Grandpa's||冬冬的假期||Golden Montgolfiere at the 1985 Three Continents Festival|
|1985||A Time to Live, A Time to Die||童年往事||FIPRESCI Prize at the 1986 Berlin International Film Festival|
|1986||Dust in the Wind||戀戀風塵|
|1987||Daughter of the Nile||尼羅河的女兒||Entered into Directors' Fortnight at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival|
|1989||A City of Sadness||悲情城市||Golden Lion at the 1989 Venice Film Festival|
|1993||The Puppetmaster||戲夢人生||Jury Prize at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival|
|1995||Good Men, Good Women||好男好女||Best Feature Film at the 1995 Hawaii International Film Festival|
|1996||Goodbye South, Goodbye||南國再見，南國||Entered into the 1996 Cannes Film Festival|
|1998||Flowers of Shanghai||海上花||Entered into the 1998 Cannes Film Festival|
|2001||Millennium Mambo||千禧曼波||Technical Grand Prize at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival|
|2003||Café Lumière||咖啡時光||Japanese production, Entered into the 2004 Venice Film Festival|
|2005||Three Times||最好的時光||Entered into the 2005 Cannes Film Festival|
|2007||The Electric Princess House||電姬館||Segment of the anthology film, To Each His Own Cinema|
|2008||Flight of the Red Balloon||Le Voyage du Ballon Rouge (紅氣球的旅行)||French production|
|2011||La Belle Epoque||黃金之弦||Segment of the anthology film, 10+10|
|2013||The Assassin||聶隱娘||In production|
As producer 
|Year||English Title||Original Title||Director|
|1991||Raise the Red Lantern||大紅燈籠高高掛||Zhang Yimou|
|1992||Dust of Angels||少年吔，安啦||Hsu Hsiao-ming|
|1993||Treasure Island||只要為你活一天||Chen Kuo-Fu|
|1994||A Borrowed Life||多桑||Wu Nien-jen|
|1995||Heartbreak Island||去年冬天||Hsu Hsiao-ming|
|2000||Mirror Image||命帶追逐||Hsiao Ya-chuan|
|2010||One Day||有一天||Hou Ji-ran|
|2010||Taipei Exchanges||第36個故事||Hsiao Ya-chuan|
|2010||Return Ticket||到阜陽六百里||Teng Yung-Shing|
|2011||Hometown Boy||金城小子||Yao hung-I|
As actor / Himself 
|Year||English Title||Original Title||Director|
|1983||The Boys From Fengkuei||風櫃來的人||Himself|
|1985||Taipei Story||青梅竹馬||Edward Yang|
|1996||Yang±Yin: Gender in Chinese Cinema||男生女相||Stanley Kwan|
|1997||HHH: A Portrait of Hou Hsiao-Hsien||HHH - Un portrait de Hou Hsiao-Hsien||Olivier Assayas|
|2010||I Wish I Knew||海上傳奇||Jia Zhangke|
Further reading 
- Berenice Reynaud, A City of Sadness, British Film Institute 2002
- James Udden, No Man an Island: The Cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien, Hong Kong University Press, 2009. 
See also 
- Hou Hsiao-Hsien at the Internet Movie Database
- Director of the Decade: Hou Hsiao-Hsien at Camera-Stylo
- Hou Hsiao-Hsien at Strictly Film School
- Cinema with a Roof Over Its Head: Kent Jones (Film Comment) on the Latterday Films of Hou Hsiao-Hsien
- Tribute to Hou Hsiao-Hsien at Cinemaya
- Style and Meaning in the films of Hou Hsiao-Hsien - podcast of a lecture by Prof. John Orr, University of Edinburgh
- Parametric Narration and Optical Transition Devices: Hou Hsiao-hsien and Robert Bresson in Comparison, Senses of Cinema article on the style of Flowers of Shanghai by Colin Burnett
- Hou Hsiao-Hsien, a Reverse Shot symposium