Tsai Ming-Liang was born in 1957 in Malaysia. He came to Taiwan in 1977 and graduated from the Chinese Culture University with a degree in Film and Theatre in 1981. During his university days, he began writing stage plays and directed three of them. “Instant Bean Sauce Noodle” (1981) and “A Sealed Door in the Dark” (1982) explore the lonely lives of urban dwellers in contemporary society in humorous ways. In 1983, he wrote, directed and acted in a one-man play, “A Wardrobe in the Room”, which dealt with the theme of a city dweller’s voluntary entrenchment in solitude. This has become a recurrent theme in his future works.
During the following ten years, Tsai devoted himself to television production and screenwriting. After that, he returned briefly to theatre and also became a drama instructor. In 1989, he went back to television and wrote and directed several tele-films including “All Corners of the World” (1989) and “Boys” (1991). These tele-films helped to prepare him for his future feature film career.
During the making of “Boys”, Tsai Ming-Liang got to know Lee Kang-Sheng by chance outside a video game shop frequented by teenagers. Even though Lee didn’t have professional training in acting, he quickly became Tsai Ming-Liang’s favourite actor. Tsai Ming-liang wrote his debut feature film, “Rebels of the Neon God” (1992) based on Lee’s personality and screen persona. Hsiao Kang (as he has come to be known), has been the central character in all of Tsai Ming-Liang’s subsequent films. “Rebels of the Neon God” went on to win the Tokyo Film Festival’s Bronze Sakura Award as well as the Nantes International Film Festival’s Best Debut Feature Film Award in 1993.
In 1994, with “Vive Lamour”, he won the Venice International Film Festival’s Golden Lion Award, the FRIPESCI Award as well as the Taiwanese Golden Horse Award for Best Director.
“The River” of 1997 won the Berlin International Film Festival’s Silver Bear Award, the Chicago International Film Festival’s Silver Hugo Award, as well as awards from the San Paulo International Film Festival and the Singapore International Film Festival.
In 1998, he completed “The Hole”, Taiwan’s entry into the monumental world cinema project, 2000: “Seen by...”, commissioned by the French television station, La Sept Arte. It won the Cannes International Film Festival’s FIPRISCI Prize, The Silver Hugo Award as well as the Best Asian Director and Best Asian Film awards at the Singapore International Film Festival.
In 2001, “What Time Is It There?” won the Technical Achievement Award in Sound Recording from Cannes and a string of awards from other festivals such as the Chicago International Film Festival, the Asian Film Festival and the Golden Horse Film Festival.
Tsai completed a short film, “The Skywalk Is Gone” in 2002. He followed that with a feature called “Goodbye Dragon Inn” in 2003. At the same time, he produced Lee Kang-Sheng’s first directorial effort, The Missing.
In 2002, he received the distinguished medal of the Knight of Order of Arts and Letters (Chevalier de l’Order des Arts et des Letters) from the French government CNC (Centre National de la Cinematographie).
“The Wayward Cloud” (2004) won 3 major awards at the 2005 Berlin International Film Festival – the Silver Bear Award for Outstanding Artistic Contribution, the Alfred Bauer Award and the FIPRESCI Prize.
In 2006, he completed “I Don’t Want To Sleep Alone”, a film project selected by the New Crown Hope Event in Vienna to commemorate Mozart’s 250th birthday. This was also the director’s first feature film to be shot in his home country, Malaysia.
The French Louvre Museum will be producing his next feature film that will be shot inside the world famous art museum.
He presented some works at Curtas Vila do Conde – International Film Festival: “What Time Is It There?”, “Goodbye Dragon Inn”, “The Wayward Cloud” and the short film “The Skywalk is Gone” won the Great Prize Fiction in 2003.
2004 Hua Diao (Cai Guo Qiang Jin Men Bunker Museum Exhibition)
2007 “It's a Dream”, video art installation
2007 “Erotic Space”, video art installation
2007 “Whitering Flower”, video art installation
Feature films (direction)
1992 Rebels of the Neon God
1994 Vive L’amour
1996 The River
1998 The Hole
2001 What Time Is It There?
2003 Goodbye Dragon Inn
2004 The Wayward Cloud
2006 I Don’t Want To Sleep Alone
1982 Windmill and Train (dir. Chang Pei-Cheng)
Little Fugitive (dir. Chang Pei-Cheng)
1983 Runaway (dir. Wang Tong)
1984 Spring Daddy (dir. Wang Tong)
1985 Kung Fu Kids III (dir. Wang Tong)
1987 Yellow Story (dir. Wang Shau-Di)
1989 Endless Love (TV Series)
Telefilms (screenplay and direction)
1989 The Happy Weaver
All Corners of the World
1990 My Name is Mary
Li Hsiang’s Love Line
Ah Hsiung’s First Love
1991 Give Me a Home
Hsiao Yueh’s Dowry
1995 My New Friends
2001 The Missing Moon
2004 My Stinking Kid
1981 Instant Bean Sauce Noodle
1982 A Sealed Door in the Dark
1983 A Wardrobe in the Room
1984 Apartment Romance
1998 Hsiao-Kang and a Table
2001 A Conversation with God
2002 The Skywalk is Gone
2007 It’s a Dream
1998 The Good Women of Szechwan (adapted from B. Brecht)
2005 Bunker Museum of Contemporary Art, Kinmen Island, Taiwan
2007 “Discovering the Other”, National Palace Museum in Taipei
2007 “Atopia”, 52nd International Art Exhibition – La Biennale of Venice, The Exhibition of the Taipei Fine ArtsMuseum of Taiwan
2008 “Goodbye Dragon Inn”, Witte de With, Rotterdam