Shu Qi Joins Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Kung Fu Movie

Cannes winner Hou Hsiao-hsien, best known for his art-house movies set in his native Taiwan, is about to try his hand at kung fu cinema.

Hou plans to start shooting the martial arts film starring Taiwanese actress Shu Qi late this year, Venus Chen, a spokeswoman for one of the investors, SinoMovie, told The Associated Press.

Chen said the script is still being written and that the movie’s budget hasn’t been decided. She said the Taiwan branch of Hollywood studio Fox has also invested in the movie.

The new kung fu movie marks a departure from Hou’s examinations of Taiwanese culture. The director has shot movies about a local puppeteer (“The Puppetmaster”), southern Taiwan’s gang culture (“Goodbye South, Goodbye”) and government oppression (“City of Sadness”).

“The Puppetmaster” won the jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1993 and “City of Sadness” won the top Golden Lion prize at the Venice Film Festival in 1989.

But Hou’s most recent movie is the French-Taiwanese co-production “The Flight of the Red Balloon,” starring Juliette Binoche. The movie is about a single mother who hires a Taiwanese student to take care of her son.

Shu and Hou have collaborated on “Millennium Mambo” and “Three Times,” which won Shu best actress honors at Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards, the Chinese-language equivalent of Oscars, in 2005.

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