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Godfather of Taiwan cinema Li Hsing dies aged 91

Revered director worked for nearly 70 years in the industry, making countless classic Taiwan films

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Li Hsing has been called the godfather of Taiwan cinema. (Ministry of Culture photo)

Li Hsing has been called the godfather of Taiwan cinema. (Ministry of Culture photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan director Li Hsing (李行), regarded as the godfather of Taiwan cinema, died of heart failure in Taipei on Thursday (Aug. 19), reported CNA.

The revered filmmaker received multiple Golden Horse Awards, three for Best Director and seven for Best Films. Some of his most famous works include “Oyster Girl” (柯女), “The Silent Wife” (啞女情深), and “Beautiful Duckling” (養鴨人家).

Li Hsing was born in Shanghai in 1930, and moved to Taiwan in 1948. He co-directed his first feature film “Brother Liu and Brother Wang on the Roads in Taiwan” (王哥柳哥遊台灣), which premiered in 1959, marking the beginning of a career that would span seven decades.

The director was known for his versatility, finding success in several genres including Taiwanese-language films, realistic films, and romance films. According to CNA, his adaptation of Chiung Yao’s (瓊瑤) romantic novels pioneered a trend that lasted for years, and he was also responsible for making a number of actors famous.

Li was an advocate of cross-strait film interactions as well as film restoration and preservation, becoming the first chair of Taiwan’s directors’ guild in 1989. In 1990, he was selected as chair of the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival Executive Committee, and he subsequently established the primacy of the Golden Horse Awards by taking submissions from Chinese filmmakers for the first time and allowing Chinese film personalities to attend the event.

Li is known for encouraging young directors to care less about getting awards and treat a career in filmmaking as a marathon. He has been quoted as saying that as long as one can endure trials and challenges, there will come a day when one succeeds.