Wu Nien-chen

Wu Nien-chen
b. 1952, Taiwan
Writer, screenwriter, film director, actor
Working his way out of a working-class life through night school, Wu had just established himself as a short story writer with such collections as Take Hold of a Springtime (Zhuazhu yige chuntian, 1977) when he was employed to write a script for the film Oath (Xianghuo, 1979). In the Taiwan ‘New Cinema’ movement that followed shortly, Wu became much in demand, beginning with the pioneering productions Sandwich Man (Erzi, de da wanou, 1983), directed by Hou Xiaoxian and others, and That Day on the Beach (Haitan de nayi tian, 1983), directed by Edward Yang. Among his most recognized achievements are the scripts for Hou Xiaoxian’s City of Sadness (Beiqing chengshi, 1989) and for Zhu Tianwen and Xu Anhua’s Song of Exile (Ke tu qiu hen, 1990). Wu was especially active in bringing the local Southern Min dialect of Taiwan into print, but he has been equally valued for the range of his styles. He has worked for such directors as Hu Jinquan on All the King’s Men (Tianxia diyi, 1982), for Chen Kunhou on Osmanthus Alley (Guihuaxiang, 1987), and for Hou Xiaoxian on The Puppetmaster (Ximeng rensheng, 1993).
He played the leading role in Edward Yang’s critically acclaimed Yiyi (2000).
Davis, Darrell (2001). ‘Borrowing Postcolonial: Wu Nien-chen’s Dou-san and the Memory Mine’. Post Script 20.2/3 (Winter/Spring): 94–114.
——(2003). ‘A New Taiwanese Person? A Conversation with Wu Nien-chen’. positions: east asia cultures critique 11.3 (Winter): 717–34.
Lu, Tonglin (2002). ‘A Postcolonial Reflection: Buddha Bless America’. In idem, Confronting Modernity in the Cinemas of Taiwan and Mainland China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 191–205.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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