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Also Like Life: The Films of Hou Hsiao-hsien


“I make films because I love this world and I believe in people” - Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien

A graduate of Taiwan’s National Arts Academy (known more as a theater school than a film hotbed), Hou first came to prominence as a key figure of the New Taiwan Cinema movement of the eighties, thanks to naturalistic works like The Boys from Fengkuei (1983) and Dust in the Wind (1986), which quietly yet eloquently captured the textures and essence of everyday life. Later films, such as City of Sadness (1989), The Puppetmaster (1993), and Flowers of Shanghai (1998), added a more sweeping political and historical scope to his work, yet retained that sense of intimacy, of eavesdropping upon ordinary lives that happened to be lived in extraordinary times. (“The growth of an individual, or of a whole nation,” he once stated, “often occurs without us noticing.”) These films, and later international efforts like Café Lumiere (2003), solidified his status among the world’s elite filmmakers. In 1998, a worldwide critics’ poll named him “one of the three directors most crucial to the future of cinema.” 

Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive
2575 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA 
October 10, 2014 - December 14, 2014
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