Taiwanese directors' works among 100 greatest foreign-language films

2018/10/31 17:17:27 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢, left) and Edward Yang (楊德昌) / CNA file photo

Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢, left) and Edward Yang (楊德昌) / CNA file photo

London, Oct. 30 (CNA) The 1989 film "A City of Sadness," directed by Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢), was ranked 18th among BBC Culture's list of the 100 greatest foreign-language films, which was published Tuesday.

Hou is not the only Taiwanese director whose works are on the honor roll compiled by BBC Culture, based on scores derived from film choices by 209 cinema critics from 43 countries.

Edward Yang's (楊德昌) film "Yi Yi" is in 25th spot and his "A Brighter Summer Day" is 38th, while "Eat Drink Man Woman" directed by Ang Lee (李安) placed 54th and his "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" is 78th, according to the full list of 100 greatest foreign-language films on the BBC Culture website.

In August and September, BBC Culture invited the 209 critics to vote online for their favorite movies made primarily in a language other than English.

Each critic was asked to vote for 10 films, ranking them 1 to 10.

The results comprised 100 films from 67 directors, from 24 countries and in 19 languages.

French won the title as the international language of acclaimed foreign-language cinema, with 27 of the highest-rated films, followed by 12 in Chinese and 11 each in Italian and Japanese.

At the other end of the scale, several languages were represented by just one film, such as Belarus' (Come and See), Romania's (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days), and Wolof (Touki Bouki).

Wolof is a language of Senegal, the Gambia and Mauritania, and the native language of the Wolof people.

Other selected films in Chinese include three films directed by Hong Kong's Wong Kar-wai (王家衛) -- "In the Mood for Love" in the ninth place, "Chungking Express" in 56th, and "Happy Together" in 71st.

Two films by Chinese director Zhang Yimou (張藝謀) were on the list -- "To Live" in 41st spot and "Raise the Red Lantern" in 93rd.

The film "Farewell My Concubine" directed by China's Chen Kaige (陳凱歌) was ranked 12th.

Top of the list was "Seven Samurai" by Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, which BBC Culture said is loved by critics everywhere, except for Japan.

The six Japanese critics who voted did not nominate a single Kurosawa film between them, going instead for films directed by Yasujiro Ozu and Kenji Mizoguchi.

However, Kurosawa's works obviously won the hearts of critics from other places around the world, who picked "Rashomon (4th)," "Ikiru (72nd)," and "Ran (79th).

The top three films also include "Bicycle Thieves," directed by Vittorio de Sica of Italy, and "Tokyo Story" by Yasujirô Ozu.

BBC Culture said if there's anything disappointing about the final list, it is the paucity of films directed or co-directed by women, with just four out of the 100, despite 45 percent of the critics taking part in the online voting being female.

BBC Culture concluded that "it's clear that culture isn't bound by borders, and language needn't be a barrier to enjoying great film-making."

"While the cinema of an individual nation is inevitably tied to its unique identity and history, the language of film is universal," it said.

(By Tai Ya-chen and Elizabeth Hsu)
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