Taiwan’s Hsiao-hsien Hou has often spoken of his admiration for …
If you have never seen a Hou Hsiao-hsien film, Dust in the Wind is the perfect starting point. Preceding the Taiwanese historical dramas he is best known for—City of Sadness (1989), The Puppetmaster (1993), Good Men, Good Women (1995)—Dust is the most assured work of Hou’s early career, and one of the best examples of Taiwanese New Wave Cinema.
Hou Hsiao-Hsien made this film after directing nine features in Taiwan and was awarded the prestigious Golden Lion at the 1989 Venice Film Festival. A City of Sadness was written by two key screenwriters from the Taiwanese New Wave: Chu Tien-wen and Wu Nien-Ju, both of whom worked with Hou and Edward Yang (the other great director from this film movement) before and after A City of Sadness. The first film of a trilogy by Hou that would deal with Taiwan’s tragic past (followed by The Puppetmaster (1993) and Good Men, Good Women (1995)), A City of Sadness does the seemingly impossible task of distilling an unrepresentable experience into the fate of one family struggling to make sense of their situation following WWII.
Tsai Ming-Liang has built a reputation for himself as one of the foremost artists of contemporary cinema. His work is often lauded for its challenging ideas, careful pacing, and incredible compositional sense. His newest film Stray Dogs (rumoured to be his last) is about an alcoholic father and his two children struggling to survive in Taipei. Blending stark realism with elements of fantasy and absurdity, there is little doubt that this is one of the most unique films of the year, offering a singular vision of the world.