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The Puppetmaster (1993)

Xi meng ren sheng (original title)
Puppeteer Li Tian-lu tells his life story, and through it, the story of Taiwan in the first half of the 20th century.

Director:

Hsiao-Hsien Hou

Writers:

T'ien-wen Chu, Tien-Lu Li (story) (as Tian-Lu Li) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
7 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Tien-Lu Li Tien-Lu Li ... Himself (as Tian-Lu Li)
Giong Lim ... Li Tianlu (young) (as Chung Lin)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kuei-Chung Cheng Kuei-Chung Cheng ... Li Tien Lu adolescent
Chien-ru Huang Chien-ru Huang
Liou Hung Liou Hung ... Li Hei (grandfather)
Tung-Hsiu Kao Tung-Hsiu Kao
Hei Li Hei Li
Wenchang Li Wenchang Li
Wen-Pin Liu Wen-Pin Liu
Ming-Hua Pai ... Ong Hsiu (Grandmother)
I. Toshiro I. Toshiro
Chen-Nan Tsai ... Komeng Dang (father)
Yi-Hua Tsai Yi-Hua Tsai
Juwei Tzuo Juwei Tzuo
Li-Yin Yang ... Lai Hwat (stepmother)
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Storyline

In the first half of this century, young Li Tienlu joines a travelling puppet theatre and subsequently makes a career as one of Taiwan's leading puppeteers. During World War II the Japanese rulers of Taiwan use the traditional Chinese puppet theatre for their war propaganda. Only after the war street theatres start playing again. Written by Otto Oberhauser <Oberhauser@cc.univie.ac.at>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama | War

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Details

Country:

Taiwan

Language:

Mandarin | Min Nan | Japanese

Release Date:

8 December 1993 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Puppetmaster See more »

Filming Locations:

Taiwan

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Connections

Followed by Good Men, Good Women (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of Taiwan's Greatest Movies
15 September 2019 | by ncruz-77996See all my reviews

Hsiao-Hsien Hou can be a mixed bag to me. Some of his films like "The Assassin" (2015) and "A City of Sadness" (1989) are some of my favorite movies. But others like "Flowers of Shanghai" and "Dust in the Wind" are too slow for me, and frankly, two movies I really don't get the praise for. And while yes, I enjoy slowly paced art films; some of his movies go too far in this department. However, if you asked me, I think "The Puppetmaster" is simply excellent. Telling the story of both this man, and the story of Taiwan, this film is just excellent in its portrayal of history.

Creating a strange meshing of styles; the movie shows its story by presenting the struggles of the main character during and after WWII, showing the troubles that Taiwan suffered during Japanese occupation. Intercutting itself with stylised dramatizations and interviews with the main character. The movie can be a little too slow in some areas, but I think the style works here, allowing itself to breathe and express itself.

"The Puppetmaster" is on the lengthy side at 2 hrs, 22 mins; however, it's worth the wait. It's comparable to Hou's better films, and just a spectacle of both great visuals and unique storytelling. I really enjoy this film.


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