The life story of the famous 84-year-old puppeteer Li TienLu, portrayed in the form of meticulously-composed tableaux in which documentary and fiction are finely interwoven. Actors play the master puppeteer at different ages; the old master himself sometimes appears on screen as narrator - Li appears literally on the stage where his own life story is acted out.The story of Li's life is told in The Puppetmaster alongside the history of Taiwan in the 20th century. In this respect the film fits in the series of films Hou Hsiao-hsien is making about the history of his country. Li survived the Second World War and the fifty year occupation of Taiwan by the Japanese. The film starts at Li's birth and ends at the end of the Second World War when the country emerges severely battered from the fight. The puppeteer as marionette on the tragic strings of history. But also on a smaller scale, in the family, fate does not leave Li's life unmoved.Hou's need to tell the history of his country partially results from censorship which made that impossible for a long time. At school they heard all about the Great China, but not about the country they grew up in.

International title
Hsimeng rensheng
Filmmaker
Hou Hsiao-hsien
Premiere
-
Country
Taiwan
Year
1993
Medium
35mm
Length
142’
Language
Producer
Era International
Sales
Era International
Writer
Wu Nien-jen
Editor
Liao Ching-sung