Review: Daughter of the Nile, 1987, dir. Hou Hsiao-Hsien

Someone should write up a list of talented filmmakers who have yet to receive their due outside of the echo chambers of film criticism and cinephilia. Maybe that someone should be me. But I’ve got other things to write about, and besides, I already know that Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s name is at the top of that list, so maybe we shouldn’t bother with that list at all.

Hou’s latest film in theaters is Daughter of the Nile, released for the first time in the U.S. of A. since playing at the New York Film Festival back in 1987. I don’t have a good explanation for why nobody ever bothered putting this sucker on screen, but hey, better late than never. 

Like most everything Hou does, Daughter of the Nile is great; it’s also somewhat opaque, and a little difficult to get into. You’ll be under its spell from the start, but how soon you end up on its wavelength is another question entirely; maybe it’ll take you just a few minutes, or maybe the movie will remain a mystery to you by the end. If that sounds uninviting to you, well, what can I tell you, my piece on the film, posted at The Playlist, should be all the convincing you need to check it out if it ends up playing near you.


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