HHH: A Portrait of Hou Hsiao-Hsien 1996
Distributed by First Run/Icarus Films, 32 Court St., 21st Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201; 800-876-1710
Produced by AMIP, la SEPT/Arte, l'INA, in collaboration with Public Television, Hu Hsiao-Ming Corporation, Arc light Film
Directed by Olivier Assayas
VHS, color, 88 min.
College - Adult
Popular Culture, Film Studies, Biography, Media Studies, Asian Studies
Date Entered: 11/09/2018Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA
Taiwanese New Cinema, a combination of social realism and modernism, emerged as a film genre in the 1980’s, following the end of censorship and martial law on the island nation. Filmmaker Hou Hsiao-Hsien, the subject of this compelling biographical study, is one of the leaders of that movement and is considered by many critics to be one of its most noted representatives. In a running interview with French director, Olivier Assayas, the Chinese writer/producer/director/actor describes his own personal history as well as his cultural influences and cinematic processes.
During the course of the documentary, Hou Hsiao-Hsien visits old neighborhoods, film locations, and favorite haunts. Clips from the director’s work are interspersed with professional colleagues’ comments on the history of Taiwan’s new wave film industry and the famed director’s place in it. Originally produced for French television as part of the Cineastes de Notre Temps series, the video is in Chinese with English subtitles. Highly recommended for inclusion in film and popular culture studies collections, this video provides a fascinating look at both an industry and an individual.