His first feature film in seven years, director Hou Hsiao-hsien was humble when awarded Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival this spring for “The Assassin.” “It’s difficult to make cinema, to find financing. I want to thank all my crew and cast,” he said at the ceremony. The film is spending the summer hitting festivals internationally, and on August 27th it arrives in cinemas in China, and the first teaser is here.
Starring Chang Chen and Shu Qi, the story is set in the 9th century China, where an assassin, raised and trained in exile, is sent on a mission back to where she came from with orders to kill the man she was supposed to marry thirteen years earlier. It’s an assignment that finds the assassin caught between loyalty to the woman who trained her and the feelings that are returning to the surface.
In our review from the Croisette, Jessica Kiang was taken with the film’s careful, meticulous approach, writing that the film feels “steeped, marinated in time, as though Hou has waited, not 25 years, but eleven centuries with his camera parked on this hillside or beside that thatched barn, to get just exactly the right combination of light and cloud and movement and stillness, just the right fall of a sleeve or tremble of a drape in the breeze.”
Well Go Entertainment will release the film in U.S., but no date has been set. Watch below, and yes, the film is in Academy ratio.