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Taiwan's Hou Hsiao-hsien wins best director at Cannes Film Festival

2015/05/25 03:03:20

Taipei, May 25 (CNA) Prominent Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢) 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).

It is the first time Hou has ever won the best director award of the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. It is also his second award at Cannes, having previously won the Jury Prize in 1993 with "The Puppetmaster."

"I have been to Cannes for seven or eight times…It is a great encouragement for me to win the director award this time," Hou said in his acceptance speech.

"It is not that easy to make films. It is especially difficult to find the money to make films, so thank you very much," he said.

[From the film's distributor: Wild Bunch]

The veteran director also thanked his cast members, actress Shu Qi (舒淇) and actor Chang Chen (張震), as well as screenwriter Chu Tien-wen (朱天文) and costume designer Hwarng Wern-ying (黄文英).

The victory on Sunday also makes Hou the second Taiwanese director to ever win a best director award at Cannes. Late director Edward Yang (楊德昌) previously won the award with his film "Yi Yi" (一一) in 2000.

"The Assassin" is one of the 19 entries in the main competition at the Cannes Film Festival this year.

Set in 9th century China, the film is about a general's daughter named Nie Yinniang (聶隱娘), who was abducted by a nun when she was 10 and trained to become an assassin.

Hou, 68, is a prominent figure in Taiwan's "New Wave" cinema movement, which began during the 1980s. The movement is characterized by realistic and sympathetic portrayals of Taiwanese life, in stark contrast from the kung-fu action movies and melodramas of earlier decades.

Hou is known for his long takes, minimal camera movements, and observant and realistic style of filmmaking.

His film "A City of Sadness" became the first Taiwanese film to be awarded a Golden Lion when it won the honor at the 1989 Venice Film Festival.

At Sunday's award ceremony, Jacques Audiard's "Dheepan" took home the festival's biggest prize, the Palme d'Or, while the Grand Prix went to László Nemes' "Son of Saul" and "The Lobster" by Yorgos Lanthimos won the Jury Prize.

The best actress award was shared by Rooney Mara for her role in "Carol" and Emmanuelle Bercot for her performance in "Mon Roi."

Vincent Lindon grabbed the best actor award for his role in "The Measure of a Man" and Michel Franco won the best screenplay award for "Chronic."

(By Christie Chen)

Related stories:
Movies are about first impressions: Hou Hsiao-hsien
Director Hou Hsiao-hsien praised for artistry in 'The Assassin'
Hou Hsiao-hsien to get NT$5 million reward for winning at Cannes
'The Assassin' composer Lim Giong wins Cannes Soundtrack Award

Images from the film's distributor: Wild Bunch: