Lin Hsiao-yang (Lin Yang), tries to keep her family together while working as a waitress at KFC and going to night school. Her mother and older brother are dead. Her father (Fu Sheng Tsui) works out of town. It’s up to Lin Hsiao-yang to take care of her pre-teen sister, who has already begun to steal, and a brother (Jack Kao) who is a burglar and gang member. The title is a reference to a character in a manga called Crest of the Royal Family who is hailed as Daughter of the Nile. The film is a study of the life of young people in contemporary Taipei urban life, focusing on the marginalised figure of a woman and centered on a fast-food server’s hapless crush on a gigolo. The introductory sequence suggests a parallel between the difficulties faced by people in the film (Taiwan’s urban youth, transitioning from a classical civilization into a changing world) and the mythic struggles of characters in the Egyptian Book of the Dead. —Wikipedia
Director Hou Hsiao Hsien, in a 1988 New York Film Festival World Critics Poll, was voted one of three directors who would most likely shape cinema in the coming decades. He has since become one of the most respected, influential directors working in cinema today. In spite of his international renown, his films have focused exclusively on his native Taiwan, offering finely textured human dramas that deal with the subtleties of family relationships against the backdrop of the island’s turbulent, often bloody history. All of his movies deal in some manner with questions of personal and national identity, particularly, “What does it mean to be Taiwanese?” In a country that has been colonized first by the Japanese and then by Chiang Kai-Shek’s repressive Nationalist Government, this question is pregnant with political connotations.
Hou was born to a member of the Hakka ethnic minority in southern Guangdong province in mainland China, but his parents emigrated to Kaohsiung, Taiwan… read more
A look back at the posters for departing festival director Richard Peña’s very first NYFF.