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The Assassin


  1. Directed by: Hsiao-Hsien Hou
  2. Produced by: Wen-Ying Huang
    Ching-Sung Liao
  3. Written by: Cheng Ah
    T'ien-wen Chu
    Hsiao-Hsien Hou
    Hai-Meng Hsieh
    Xing Pei
  4. Music by: Giong Lim
  5. Cinematography by: Ping Bin Lee
  6. Editing by: Paulie Chih-Chia Huang
    Ching-Sung Liao
  7. Release Date: 2015
  8. Running Time: 105
  9. Language: Mandarin

Clips

  1. A&F Discussion Thread
  2. IMDb.com
  3. Wikipedia
  4. Netflix

The Assassin is a difficult film to summarize, but not because the plot is unclear. Characters constantly fill each other in on where exactly they stand. Roughly, the movie concerns an assassin (Shu Qi) who, having failed in an assignment, is sent to kill her cousin, a man who is also her betrothed. But this is a Hou Hsiao-hsien film, and any expectations of a straightforward wuxia adventure should be left at the door. This film is far more interested in textures: the light falling across early-morning steam on a lake, the titular black-clad assassin stalking through a forest of white trees, a broken gold mask among the leaves. On a plot level, the assassin “wakes up” to her own self-determination, eventually rejecting the orders to kill her cousin. On a visual and sensual level—the level Hou Hsiao-hsien operates on most effectively—the movie is itself an act of awakening. By using lingering shots on faces, on scenery (the characters, often, pushed into the far bottom corner of the frame, dwarfed by the landscape), The Assassin invites viewers to wake up to world far larger than anyone inside the movie. Or out of it.

—Nathanael Booth


  1. Directed by: Hsiao-Hsien Hou
  2. Produced by: Wen-Ying Huang
    Ching-Sung Liao
  3. Written by: Cheng Ah
    T'ien-wen Chu
    Hsiao-Hsien Hou
    Hai-Meng Hsieh
    Xing Pei
  4. Music by: Giong Lim
  5. Cinematography by: Ping Bin Lee
  6. Editing by: Paulie Chih-Chia Huang
    Ching-Sung Liao
  7. Release Date: 2015
  8. Running Time: 105
  9. Language: Mandarin

Clips

  1. A&F Discussion Thread
  2. IMDb.com
  3. Wikipedia
  4. Netflix

The Assassin is a difficult film to summarize, but not because the plot is unclear. Characters constantly fill each other in on where exactly they stand. Roughly, the movie concerns an assassin (Shu Qi) who, having failed in an assignment, is sent to kill her cousin, a man who is also her betrothed. But this is a Hou Hsiao-hsien film, and any expectations of a straightforward wuxia adventure should be left at the door. This film is far more interested in textures: the light falling across early-morning steam on a lake, the titular black-clad assassin stalking through a forest of white trees, a broken gold mask among the leaves. On a plot level, the assassin “wakes up” to her own self-determination, eventually rejecting the orders to kill her cousin. On a visual and sensual level—the level Hou Hsiao-hsien operates on most effectively—the movie is itself an act of awakening. By using lingering shots on faces, on scenery (the characters, often, pushed into the far bottom corner of the frame, dwarfed by the landscape), The Assassin invites viewers to wake up to world far larger than anyone inside the movie. Or out of it.

—Nathanael Booth

The Assassin is a difficult film to summarize, but not because the plot is unclear. Characters constantly fill each other in on where exactly they stand. Roughly, the movie concerns an assassin (Shu Qi) who, having failed in an assignment, is sent to kill her cousin, a man who is also her betrothed. But this is a Hou Hsiao-hsien film, and any expectations of a straightforward wuxia adventure should be left at the door. This film is far more interested in textures: the light falling across early-morning steam on a lake, the titular black-clad assassin stalking through a forest of white trees, a broken gold mask among the leaves. On a plot level, the assassin “wakes up” to her own self-determination, eventually rejecting the orders to kill her cousin. On a visual and sensual level—the level Hou Hsiao-hsien operates on most effectively—the movie is itself an act of awakening. By using lingering shots on faces, on scenery (the characters, often, pushed into the far bottom corner of the frame, dwarfed by the landscape), The Assassin invites viewers to wake up to world far larger than anyone inside the movie. Or out of it.

—Nathanael Booth


  1. Directed by: Hsiao-Hsien Hou
  2. Produced by: Wen-Ying Huang
    Ching-Sung Liao
  3. Written by: Cheng Ah
    T'ien-wen Chu
    Hsiao-Hsien Hou
    Hai-Meng Hsieh
    Xing Pei
  4. Music by: Giong Lim
  5. Cinematography by: Ping Bin Lee
  6. Editing by: Paulie Chih-Chia Huang
    Ching-Sung Liao
  7. Release Date: 2015
  8. Running Time: 105
  9. Language: Mandarin

Clips

  1. A&F Discussion Thread
  2. IMDb.com
  3. Wikipedia
  4. Netflix
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