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Daughter of the Nile


Dir. Hou Hsiao-hsien. 1987, 91 mins. 35mm. With Lin Yang, Jack Kao. In this vehicle for Taiwanese pop star Lin Yang, she plays a disaffected Kentucky Fried Chicken server looking after her wannabe gangster brother; her only escape is found in manga comic books. An outlier in Hou’s filmography, which found him working again with the producers of his early commercial romances and engaging with contemporary urban pop culture, this rarely screened film is ripe for rediscovery. “Hou’s formalist eye turns every shot into a study in absence and detachment, and his attention to the anomic rhythms of Taipei youth culture reminds one of Godard’s early 1960s portraits of Paris,” wrote James Quandt in Artforum.

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