Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢), who won the best director award at the Cannes Film Festival in France on Sunday with his first martial arts film, The Assassin (聶隱娘), said that his next project would be a movie about a river goddess set in the modern era.
Speaking at a seminar in Brussels on Wednesday, Hou said that Taipei used to have many waterways for paddy irrigation, but many of the waterways have since been covered over by roads as a result of urbanization.
If there were a river goddess, she would feel very sad about the situation, Hou said.
Screenwriter Chu Tien-wen (朱天文) said Hou’s new project would be about a waterway enthusiast who encounters a river goddess while studying the city’s waterway system.
Actress Shu Qi (舒淇), the protagonist in The Assassin, would play the role of the river goddess, the 68-year-old director said.
The seminar was part of the “Taiwan Film Panorama” and “Hou Hsiao-hsien Retrospective” held by the Belgian Royal Cinematek.
The exhibition began with a screening of The Assassin on Wednesday, with about 260 people from political, economic, social and arts circles in Belgium and the EU attending.
Speaking to reporters, Hou said he is concerned that there are not many directors who are passionate about their craft, with enough conviction to make movies according to their own standards.
Hou said it is tough to be a director in Taiwan because of the pressure to create a box-office success while seeking a balance between one’s convictions and the views of movie companies and investors.
“These days in Taiwan, you can hardly find a director with the passion and conviction to simply insist that a movie be shot in a particular way or to say: ‘This is how I would like it to be,’” Hou said.
Hou is one of the few Taiwanese directors who are capable of finding funds abroad to support their film ideas.
Still, he has always tried to shoot artistic movies with minimal budgets, he said.
“I know a lot of movie directors would love to shoot grand movies with a big cast and big stars. I don’t find it necessary,” Hou said.
He said he prefers to use digital cameras and fresh faces as his key actors, which can be done on a smaller budget without the restraints imposed by investors.
To make emotional films, “the most fundamental thing is to have a strong impulse to do so,” Hou said. “You also need to have a special feeling about the environment in which you grew up.”
On the criticism that The Assassin is not an easy movie to understand because of the complexity of the main character, Hou said: “If you can understand it, just enjoy it; if you can’t, why not just appreciate it [as a work of art].”
“There are infinite types of films,” he said. “Just watch them in your own way. It’s OK to fall asleep in front of the big screen if you’re there just out of curiosity about the movie.”
PAST CATCHING UP: Raphael Lin was last year convicted of intimidating his girlfriend at the time, and in 2015 allegedly confined his parents and assaulted his mother Doctoral student and media commentator Raphael Lin (林秉樞) is in detention and has had his communication rights limited after he was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly subjecting Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Kao Chia-yu (高嘉瑜) to two days of violence in a hotel room, the New Taipei District Court said yesterday. The New Taipei City Prosecutors’ Office had filed a request to detain Lin — who was Kao’s boyfriend at the time of the incident — with the court approving the request early yesterday. The prosecutors’ office said that it is likely to charge Lin with seven offenses: assault causing bodily harm, violating
NBA player Enes Kanter Freedom has taken to social media to urge Jeremy Lin (林書豪) to “stand with Taiwan” and stop taking “dirty Chinese Communist Party money.” “Haven’t you had enough of that Dirty Chinese Communist Party money feeding you to stay silent?” Freedom wrote on Facebook and Twitter on Sunday. The 29-year-old Boston Celtics center, who took a new surname when he became a US citizen on Monday last week, urged Lin: “Stand with Taiwan! Stop bowing to money & the Dictatorship.” Lin, a US citizen of Taiwanese descent who last year obtained a Taiwanese passport, has not responded to Freedom. Lin is
A COVID-19 vaccine trial carried out in Taiwan has found that a combination of the AstraZeneca and the locally developed Medigen vaccines is more effective than two doses of AstraZeneca, the research team said on Saturday. The trial, which was initiated by Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, examined 100 people aged 22 to 62 divided into two groups: One group was vaccinated with two AstraZeneca doses, while the other received a first dose of AstraZeneca and a second dose of Medigen, team leader Chen Chih-jung (陳志榮) said. The geometric mean titers (GMTs) of neutralizing antibodies in the mix-and-match group after 10 days were
Toads are a symbol of prosperity and good fortune in Taiwan, but the unexpected discovery of an invasive species has officials and environmentalists scrambling to contain their spread. With flashlights in hand and shielded by protective gloves, dozens of volunteers from the Taiwan Amphibian Conservation Society worked through the night searching rice fields and vegetable plots for their quarry — the cane toad. There should be no reason for these large and highly toxic amphibians to exist in Caotun (草屯), a township in the foothills of the central mountain range. Cane toads are indigenous to South and Central America, and while they have