- Chinese Name: 吳念真
- Born: July 29, 1952
- Birthplace: New Taipei City (Northern Taiwan)
- Did You Know That …?
- In addition to films, TV dramas, and theatrical works, Wu also directed roughly 100 television commercials that are widely known for their distinctly local cultural elements and catchy slogans.
Wu Nien-jen is a prolific scriptwriter, director, and author whose works usually depict the lives of the working class in Taiwan. He held an influential role in Taiwan's New Wave Cinema movement during the 1980s by writing the screenplay for a number of representative films in that era.
Growing up in the mining town of Houtong, where the literacy rate was poor at that time, Wu used to help people in the community with writing and reading letters. This helped cultivate his observation skills and provided him with inspiration for writing stories in the future.
Wu started writing novels and scripts after finishing compulsory military service. In 1980, he entered the Central Picture Corporation, where he wrote a number of iconic screenplays, including "The Sandwich Man (兒子的大玩偶),” "A City of Sadness (悲情城市),” "Dust in the Wind (戀戀風塵),” "The Puppermaster (戲夢人生),” and "Woman of Wrath (殺夫).”
"A Borrowed Life (多桑),” another representative film of Taiwan's New Wave Cinema, was written and directed by Wu. Based on his father's own story, the film reflects the lives of many other forefathers in that era. The film was nominated by the Golden Horse Awards for Best Original Screenplay, Best Feature, and Best Leading Actor.
Wu left Central Picture and became a freelance scriptwriter in 1989. Before trying his hand in advertising and theater, he wrote 72 film scripts and participated in 17 films as an actor. He also won Taiwan's prestigious Wu San-lien Literature Prize.
In 2001, Wu joined the Greenray Theatre Company to serve as its screenwriter and artistic director. He produced the "Conditions of World (人間條件)” series to tell the stories of everyday people through an approachable style. The series, which has released eight installations, is now a heart-warming sensation.
In addition, Wu served as the host for a television program called "These People; Those People (這些人 那些人)” in 2005. He interviewed people from every walk of life to share their untold stories. "Society comprises of professionals in different fields, and we should care and learn more about them,” noted Wu.
Serving as the chairman of his own production company today, Wu continues to be an active figure in films, TV commercials, and theater to present his observations on Taiwanese society and its people.