A sparkling new restoration resurrects Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s moody Daughter Of The Nile

B-

The Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien (Flowers Of Shanghai, The Assassin) has spent the better part of his career musing about how our personal and emotional lives are constrained by the times we’re born into—a theme one finds wiggling around Daughter Of The Nile, a despondent early-ish feature from 1987. Hou was…

A restored Taipei Story offers a fresh chance to discover the genius of Edward Yang

B+

The late Edward Yang’s 1985 film Taipei Story portrays a couple that has begun to drift apart: the white-collar and upwardly mobile Chin (pop star Tsai Chin, soon to marry the filmmaker), who is forced to quit her corporate job after being demoted to secretary; and her sad-sack boyfriend, Lung (Hou Hsiao-Hsien, the…

An important filmmaker gets a disposable profile in Jia Zhangke, A Guy From Fenyang

C+

The problem with Jia Zhangke, A Guy From Fenyang, Walter Salles’ documentary profile of the rightly celebrated Chinese director, comes down to home court advantage. Jia has been making movies about his country’s mutant present and dissolving past for going on two decades, periodically revisiting the dusty…

Hou Hsiao-hsien readying follow-up to Cannes standout The Assassin

Hou Hsiao-hsien’s strikingly beautiful martial arts piece The Assassin—the Taiwanese great’s first feature in eight years—was a standout at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, where it picked up the Best Director award. The Taipei Times is reporting that Hou and his longtime writing partner, Chu Tien-wen, are already…

Cannes gave out its awards this weekend, with some surprises

The Cannes Film Festival wound down this weekend, with Jacques Audiard’s Dheepan picking up the Palme d’Or—the most prestigious award in all of film festivaldom—at the closing ceremony. This came as a big surprise, given that Audiard’s immigrant drama/vigilante thriller wasn’t considered a major contender on the…

Hou Hsiao-hsien’s The Assassin is the most beautiful film at Cannes

9:30 a.m. Even to a newcomer, it quickly becomes obvious that the Palais, Cannes’ main theater complex, is either a microcosm of the festival, or was built in its image. Cannes is a culture of patronage, consecration, and iron rules, and the Palais itself resembles a late ’70s abstraction of a medieval city. It has…