Hsiao Hsien Hou

Film director


Hsiao Hsien Hou, the forerunner of New Taiwanese Cinema, is considered one of the greatest directors of the 21st century

The signature long, static takes in Hsiao Hsien Hou’s films take some getting used to, particularly for audiences reared on mainstream Hollywood cinema—but this hasn’t stopped the director from being hailed as one of the most influential auteurs alive today. Hou’s body of work is largely concerned with the history of Taiwan, particularly his experiences of the 1950s and 1960s, an era marked by great social turmoil and change.

The 1989 film A City of Sadness, which won the Golden Lion at Venice, was the first film from Taiwan to reference the traumatic February 28, 1947 Massacre. His stylistic approach to realism, characterized by lengthy, deep-focus shots, exudes a certain detachment yet allows simultaneous narratives to unfold in one frame, thus telling a bigger story. The Assassin (2015), his last feature film, left viewers in rapture with its slow, elegant take on the martial arts epic.


Impacted Industries



Georges Delerue Award


Best Director, Cannes Film Festival (The Assassin)


Golden Horse Lifetime Achievement Award

Did You Know?

A Time to Live, A Time to Die (1985) is partly based on Hou’s life as a teenage ruffian.

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