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The Assassin (2015, Taiwan) May 1, 2016
Director: Hsiao-Hsien Hou
Starring: Qi Shu, Chen Chang, Satoshi Tsumabuki, Shao-Huai Chang, Nikki Hsin-Ying Hsieh
Duration: 105 mins
This film earned Hou Hsiao-Hsien the Cannes Film Festival’s best director prize. Set during the ninth-century Tang dynasty, ‘The Assassin’ takes place in ChinaÕs Weibo province, which is beginning to rebel against a crumbling central authority. The lithe lady assassin Yinniang (Hou regular Shu Qi) is dispatched to kill provincial governor Lord Tian (Chang Chen) at the command of the mysterious princess nun (Sheu Fang-yi), who kidnapped and trained the girl as a youth. Old romantic entanglements cause Yinniang to stay her sword, and so ‘The Assassin’ stands as a perverse paradox: a drama about a hit-lady who’s reluctant to hit.