In the last few years Hou Hsiao-hsien's films, (A Summer at Grandpa's '84, A Time to Live and a Time to Die '85 and Dust in the Wind '87) have reflected the considerable critical attention coming to, and the changes taking place, in Taiwanese cinema Though these features have been well received in the West, they've not been so popular at home.
With Daughter of the Nile, Hou has returned to the production company, Tsung Yi Film Co, who produced his first feature in 1980 They financed this film on the stipulation that it was to be commercial, and would star a popular young singer, Yang Lin.
Hou also felt he wanted to move in a more commercial direction, yet still make a film he considered personal - his early films all have strong biographical elements. After meeting with Yang Lin and her family, Hou discovered that she like many other girls of her age was addicted to Japanese comics, the most popular being Daughter of the Nile.
Hou Hsiao Hsien explains how the film developed from this point ' I built a story around Yang Lin and her family, set against the increasing prosperity of Taiwan and the problems of the developing metropolis Some people benefit from social change, others fail, the key is the profit motive. This attitude affects the family, the social ambience, and the social structure. At first, I planned to make a film about traditional Taiwanese opera in the modern city. Some of the material from that film can be found in Daughter of the Nile When the editing was finished, I found my style had changed since my early commercial films. It is now gentler, more lyrical, lacking the unrestrained energy of my other films.” - Hou Hsiao Hsien.