Mr. Hou Hsiao Hsien is a world-eminent film director who represents Asian artists of today.
He was born in Mei Xian, Guangdong Province, China in 1947, and raised in Taiwan since the age of one. His major in university was film-making. In 1973, he joined the film industry and made his debut as a film director in 1980.
In the early 1980s, a new artistic movement stirred in Taiwanese films with film directors departing from conventional films for entertainment or propaganda of national policies. This develops into an epoch-making incident in the world history of films. As a film director, Mr. Hou Hsiao Hsien provided a strong leadership in this new dynamism and earned world recognition.
He directed "The Boys from Fengkuei", "A Summer at Grandpa's", "A Time to Live, A Time to Die", "Dust in the Wind" and others. These excellent works are all full of his ardent love for the nature of Taiwan and its young people. His impassioned but realistic films together with those produced by other directors called 'Taiwan New Wave' is proof that humanity, sympathy, reason and sensitivity did not fade away in Taiwan but have deepened and become sophisticated despite the country's plight under the prolonged martial law era. Almost in the same period, other East Asian films began to receive world attention with their innovativeness. These two developments in the film making in Asia have interacted to enable Asian films to strongly announce their flourishing presence and that of Asian arts and culture to the world.
Dramatic changes have occurred in politics and society of Taiwan from the second half of the 1980s to the 1990s. The shift toward liberalization and liberation in this period has been largely facilitated by his major work "A City of Sadness" (1989) and its meaning was made known to the world when the film won the Golden Lion at the Venice International Film Festival. This film has not only helped secure Taiwan's transition but also raised a strong awareness about the societal affairs in Taiwan and its people to many around the world who had been unconcerned about Taiwan. Subsequently, Mr. Hou Hsiao Hsien has continued to present volumes of varied works including "The Puppetmaster", "Good Men, Good Women", "Flowers of Shanghai" and others.
Mr. Hou Hsiao Hsien embodies the essence of Asian arts of today in his films in that they all present a deep observation of the reality of Taiwan, examine Chinese civilizations and articulate people's hope for life. Mr. Hou Hsiao Hsien with this outstanding accomplishment is truly worthy of receiving the Grand Prize of the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes.