Hou Hsiao-hsien seemed to have a better reputation at the end of the 1980's, in a 1988 New York Film Festival World Critics Poll, he was voted one of three directors who would most likely shape cinema in the coming decades. Shortly thereafter, he produced Raise the Red Lantern, and maybe the success of that film is the reason why New Zealand has every single Chinese 5th Generation film ever made, yet nothing by Hou Hsiao-hsien.
To see Hou's films, I have to rely on friends overseas, or my University's audio visual library, where I saw Edward Yang's A Brighter Summer's Day (which hasn't been released on DVD, although I read someone saying they had a laserdisc version from Hong Kong). It's really strange to me that someone who was the darling of the international film festival circuit in the 80's is no widely unavailable. I suppose it goes to show how far video stores have come throughout the 90's in terms of stocking festival and foreign films, but it's awfully frustrating. They still lean heavily towards European cinema.