Sep 27 - Oct 14, 2018

Asian Film Academy 2018

2005 Dean's Letter


It is February in 1969 when I finished my military service. On July in the same year, I was accepted into National Art Cinema college/section theatre. Soon after the school began, I found an English book about film directors in the school library. Despite my short English, I tried to read with a dictionary, from the preface. And, when I found in the preface “To read this book cannot make you a film director; a film director must be a genius,” I then stopped reading the book and returned it to the library right away.

It’s been long time after that moment and I have made 17 films since. Now, when I recall the book, I wonder if a film director must be a genius.

It can be true if we call a genius as someone who has the inner power and the passion, who strongly wishes to make film and keeps going. It is important to have the intuition. Then, as an old Chinese saying teach us, it is not necessary to know any theory or method in order to accomplish what you want. Just try it, and your effort brings the results.

It is the case for most of directors when they start their filmmaking career. Still, they are able to make the beautiful works of art.

It is why, I think, we cannot teach filmmaking. We learn the way of filmmaking while we are simply practicing repeatedly. We may call this way of learning as the genius learning method.

In this regard, what can I teach you as a president of film school? Once a novelist, who I respect a lot, mentioned, “The literature doesn’t come from the literature itself.” I should repeat him, saying the cinema which doesn’t come from the cinema.

Where can we find the cinema if the cinema doesn’t come from the cinema.

I would say we will find the cinema from our life, by observing it, appreciating other art forms, and keeping curiosity about every objects and events. After all, the cinema comes out of humanities and self-discipline. My ideal film school is the place where we teach the cinema of humanities and self-discipline, adopting the genius learning method.

Hou Hsiao Hsien