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Nien-Jen Wu

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Nien-Jen Wu

Wu Nien-jen (simplified Chinese: 吴念真; traditional Chinese: 吳念真; pinyin: Wú Niànzhēn; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Gô͘ Liām-chin; born August 5, 1952 in Ruifang, Taipei County (now New Taipei City), Taiwan) is a scriptwriter, director, and author from Taiwan. He is one of the most prolific and highly regarded scriptwriters in the country and a leading member of the New Taiwanese Cinema, although he also acted in a number of films. He starred in Edward Yang's 2000 film Yi Yi. Wu is a well-known supporter of the Democratic Progressive Party and has filmed commercials for the party.


Wu was born into a coal miner's family. He started writing short stories for newspapers in 1975, when he was still an accounting major in college. After penning his first screenplay in 1978, Wu entered Central Motion Picture Corporation as a creative supervisor and worked with several leading Taiwanese New Wave directors such as Hou Hsiao-Hsien and Edward Yang. Wu has since wrote more than 70 screenplays that were made into films, and has become one of the leading artists of the Taiwanese Cinema of the 1980s. Wu has also set the record for winning the most Golden Horse Awards to date (Taiwan's Film Awards), including a collaboration with the internationally acclaimed Hong Kong director Anne Hui on her film Song of Exile, a.k.a. Ketu Qiuhen (1990). His novels and screenplays have also made him one of Taiwan's best-selling authors.

Wu made his directorial debut in 1994 with A Borrowed Life (1994), aka Tò-sàng (多桑). The award-winning movie commemorates Wu's Japanese-educated, hard-working coal-miner father. The film won the Grand Prize at The Torino Film Festival in Italy, and Best Actor and The International Critics Award in The Thessaloniki Film Festival in Greece. Martin Scorsese also has cited Duo-Sang as one of his favorite films, and picked the film as one of the best films of the 1990s. In 1996, Wu wrote and directed his second film Buddha Bless America, a.k.a. 太平天國 Taiping Tianguo (1996), a political satire set in the 1960s. Besides directing and writing, Wu appears in film cameos from time to time. However, it was not until he acted in several beer and food product commercials that his true acting talent was discovered. He was cast as the lead ("NJ") in Edward Yang's film, Yi Yi (2000), which was critically acclaimed and won several international awards (including Best Director for Yang at Cannes). Currently, Wu runs his own production company Wu's Productions and actively writes, directs, produces and performs in commercials and television programs. He is an artist of many versatile talents, being a published novelist, author, writer and well-respected Taiwanese filmmaker.



  • 太平天國 Buddha Bless America (1996)
  • 多桑 A Borrowed Life (1994)
  • A Grocery Called Forever in anthology film, 10+10 (2011)

Executive Producer

  • Somewhere I Have Never Traveled (2009)



External links

  • Traditional Chinese, which has been established by one of Wu's TV colleagues.
  • Nien-Jen Wu at IMDb
  • "The Taiwan Stories of Edward Yang and Wu Nien-jen," Harvard Film Archive
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