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Tsai Ming-liang

Ming-liang Tsai
Tsai in 2013
Born (1957-10-27) 27 October 1957
Kuching, Crown Colony of Sarawak
Occupation Film director
Years active 1989–present

Tsai Ming-liang (Chinese: 蔡明亮; pinyin: Cài Míngliàng) (born 27 October 1957) is a Malaysian Chinese and one of the most celebrated "Second New Wave" film directors of Taiwanese Cinema, along with earlier contemporaries such as Hou Hsiao-Hsien and Edward Yang. His films have been acclaimed worldwide and have won numerous film festival awards.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
  • Filmography 3
    • Features 3.1
    • Shorts and segments 3.2
    • Telefilms 3.3
    • Casting 3.4
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Early life

Tsai was born in Malaysia of Chinese ethnic background and spent his first 20 years of his life in Kuching, Sarawak, after which he moved to Taipei, Taiwan. This, he says, had "a huge impact on [his] mind and psyche," perhaps later mirrored in his films. "Even today," says Tsai, "I feel I belong neither to Taiwan nor to Malaysia. In a sense, I can go anywhere I want and fit in, but I never feel that sense of belonging."[1]

He graduated from the Drama and Cinema Department of the Chinese Culture University of Taiwan in 1982 and worked as a theatrical producer, screenwriter, and television director in Hong Kong.


Tsai's film honours include a Golden Lion (best picture) for Vive L'Amour at the Venice Film Festival in 1994; the Silver Bear – Special Jury Prize for The River at the 47th Berlin International Film Festival;[2] the FIPRESCI award for The Hole at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival;[3] and the Alfred Bauer Prize and Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Achievement for The Wayward Cloud at the 2005 Berlin International Film Festival.

In 1995, he was a member of the jury at the 45th Berlin International Film Festival.[4]

The Malaysian Censorship Board on 4 March 2007 decided to ban Tsai's latest film shot in Malaysia, I Don't Want to Sleep Alone, based on 18 counts of incidents shown in the film depicting the country "in a bad light" for cultural, ethical, and racial reasons. However, they later allowed the film to be screened in the country after Tsai agreed to censor parts of the film according to the requirements of the Censorship Board.[5]

In 2003, he was voted by UK newspaper The Guardian as No. 18 of the 40 best directors in the world.

All of his feature films have starred Taiwanese actor Lee Kang-sheng.



Shorts and segments

  • A Conversation with God (2001)
  • The Skywalk Is Gone (2002)
  • Welcome to São Paulo (2004) – "Aquarium" segment
  • To Each His Own Cinema (2007) – "It's a Dream" segment
  • Hu die fu ren (Madame Butterfly) (2008) – part of the Lucca Film Festival project "Twenty Puccini"[12][13][14][15]
  • Beautiful 2012 (2012) – "Walker" segment[16][17][18][19]
  • No Form (2012)[20]
  • Jīngāng Jīng (Diamond sutra) / Meng you (Sleepwalk) (2012)[21][22]
  • Letters from the South (2013) – "Walking on Water" segment[23][24][25]
  • Xi You (Journey to the West) (2014)[26]
  • Beautiful 2015 (2015) – "No No Sleep" segment[27][28]
  • Xiao Kang (2015)[29][30]


  • Endless Love (1989)
  • The Happy Weaver (1989)
  • Far Away (1989)
  • All Corners of the World (1989)
  • Li Hsiang's Love Line (1990)
  • My Name is Mary (1990)
  • Ah-Hsiung's First Love (1990)
  • Give Me a Home (1991)
  • Boys (1991)
  • Hsio Yueh's Dowry (1991)
  • My New Friends (1995)


Tsai frequently re-casts actors who he has worked with on previous films:

Actor Rebels of the Neon God
Vive L'Amour
The River
The Hole
What Time Is It There?
The Skywalk Is Gone
Goodbye, Dragon Inn
The Wayward Cloud
I Don't Want to Sleep Alone
Stray Dogs
Lee Kang-sheng N N N N N N N N N N N
Chen Shiang-chyi N N N N N N N N
Lu Yi-ching N N N N N N N
Chen Chao-jung N N N N N N
Yang Kuei-mei N N N N N N
Miao Tien N N N
Jean-Pierre Léaud N N
Norman Atun N N


  1. ^ Huang, Andrew (18 February 2005). "Sense and sensuality: Art-house master Tsai Ming-liang discusses his new movie 'The Wayward Cloud,' and his philosophies in a moody, existential interview".  
  2. ^ "Berlinale: 1997 Prize Winners". Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  3. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Hole". Retrieved 29 September 2009. 
  4. ^ "45th Berlin International Film Festival". Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  5. ^ "Cutting for change", TheStar Online, 14 May 2007.
  6. ^ "Berlinale Programme 2005 – Tian bian yi duo yun The Wayward Cloud". Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  7. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Face". Retrieved 29 May 2009. 
  8. ^ STRAY DOGS by Tsai Ming Liang | Urban Distribution International. Retrieved on 29 Jul 2015.
  9. ^ 70th Venice International Film Festival – Venezia 70 - Jiaoyou (Stray Dogs). Retrieved on 22 May 2014.
  10. ^ 72th Venice International Film Festival – Out of Competition - NA RI XIAWU (AFTERNOON). Retrieved on 22 Aug 2015.
  11. ^ 40th Toronto International Film Festival – Wavelenghts - AFTERNOON NA RI XIA WU. Retrieved on 22 Aug 2015.
  12. ^ Festival international de cinéma – International film festival. FIDMarseille. Retrieved on 22 May 2014.
  13. ^ Ming Liang TSAI: Madame Butterfly | Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin/Madrid |. Retrieved on 22 May 2014.
  14. ^ (German) MADAME BUTTERFLY | Viennale. Retrieved on 22 May 2014.
  15. ^ Madam Butterfly | Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival. (15 May 2014). Retrieved on 22 May 2014.
  16. ^,2012012
  17. ^ Beautiful 2012 – Film Details :: The 36th Hong Kong International Film Festival. Retrieved on 22 May 2014.
  18. ^ Beautiful 2012 | CAAMFest 2013. Retrieved on 22 May 2014.
  19. ^ Andrade, Fábio (20 December 2013). "Walker, by Tsai Ming-liang (Hong Kong, 2012)". CINÉTICA.  
  20. ^ Festival international de cinéma – International film festival. FIDMarseille. Retrieved on 22 May 2014.
  21. ^ "69th Venice International Film Festival – Orizzonti - Jingang jing (Diamond Sutra) – Short Film – Closing Screening". Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  22. ^ English – Past Exhibitions – Past Exhibitions. Retrieved on 22 May 2014.
  23. ^ "BIFF 2013 Letters From The South". Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  24. ^ "HKAFF 2013 Film Program Letters From The South". Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  25. ^ "2013 TGHFF Letters From The South". Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  26. ^ "Berlinale Programme 2014 – Xi You Journey to the West". Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  27. ^ Beautiful 2015 – Film Details :: The 39th Hong Kong International Film Festival. Retrieved on 28 May 2015.
  28. ^ "The 39th HKIFF collaborates once again with four international filmmakers For the Beautiful 2015 omnibus". Retrieved 28 May 2015. 
  29. ^ VIENNALE TRAILER 2015 – Tsai Ming-liang: XIAO KANG. Retrieved on 25 Oct 2015.
  30. ^ "Viennale-Trailer 2015: Xiao Kang (by Tsai Ming-Liang)" on YouTube

External links

  • Tsai Ming-liang at the Internet Movie Database
  • Tsai Ming-liang at Strictly Film School
  • AV Club interview
  • Asia Pacific Arts interview
  • Tsai Ming-liang on Tsai Ming-liang at Asia Society
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