CC: Daughter of the Nile (1987)

2019/20 SEASON!

Thursday, March 05, 2020 - Thursday, March 05, 2020

Daughter of the Nile (1987)

Thursday, March 05, 2020 @ 7:00 PM
Plaza Theatre
- 1133 Kensington Road NW, Calgary, AB
$12 General | $10 Members/Seniors/Students | $40 5-Pack Punch Pass | $99 Season Pass

The fourth film in our Taiwanese New Wave series, Daughter of the Nile marks a fascinating transition-point in Hou Hsiao-hsien's career.

Fascinating and profoundly beautiful, Daughter of the Nile (1987) bridges the second and third phases of director Hou Hsiao-hsien’s career and showcases for the first time the formal sophistication and audio-visual design that would bring him global notoriety throughout the 1990s and beyond. Daughter of the Nile centres around Lin Hsiao-yang (portrayed by pop star Lin Yang), a waitress in a fried chicken restaurant who yearns for a petty criminal and increasingly finds herself running a household without any help from the deadbeat males in her circle. Lin finds respite by retreating into the fantasy world of the Japanese comic book series Crest of the Royal Family.

Hou intended to return to commercial filmmaking, resulting in a beautiful, clinical, and quietly chilling look at an emergent Taiwan beset by class disparity, urban alienation, and rapacious hyper-development. Gambling and petty crime mirror the impersonal cruelty of the profit motive upon which the new urban reality is founded. While the men succumb to psychological dispossession or general inertia, women are pressured to pick up the slack. Daughter of the Nile diverges from the three remarkable Hou films that preceded it, not only on account of the new critical focus on contemporary realities, but even more by virtue of its radical breakthroughs of technique, especially as regards to the use of narrative ellipses, complex blocking, and the use of offscreen space. The tone itself is new. It is the first Hou that feels comprehensively opiated, warmly enveloping, almost amniotic.

- Written by Jason Wierzba


In the early 1980s, Taiwanese cinema was at a crossroads. Nobody was watching locally made melodramas or kung fu movies anymore, instead opting for films from Hong Kong. Taiwanese society was also rapidly changing, with soaring high-tech economic growth driving people into the concrete jungles of Taipei and the cities. To revitalize the film industry, the state-run Central Motion Picture Corporation turned to a time-tested method to revitalize national cinemas – give the reins over to young filmmakers. These filmmakers, including Hou Hsiao-hsien, Edward Yang, and Tsai Ming-liang, pursued a radical break from the previous stylistic and aesthetic traditions, favouring location shooting, long takes, and deliberate editing to reflect the rapidly changing world around them. Each responded to the alienation wrought by globalization in their own unique ways: Hou with pensive reflection, Yang with meticulous exhumation, and Tsai with melancholy detachment. With this series, Calgary Cinematheque presents five key films from one of film history’s most influential movements.

About Calgary Cinematheque

We are a non-profit film society dedicated to presenting significant, challenging, and essential works of cinema art in Calgary. During our season, which runs from October to April, we screen films weekly, in curated programs which situate each film in a thematic and historical context. We do this because we believe cinema is an essential form of artistic, social, and political expression. Audiences should be able to engage with a wide range of cinematic expression, not only with what is commercially viable. We believe in the power of sharing these experiences with other people in a theatrical setting and we strive to cultivate a community around that experience.  

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NOTE: The showtimes listed on come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to