If you’re hoping to take another peek at Hou Hsiao-hsien‘s next picture, good news: not so long after the first teaser for The Assassin (advertising its release in Taiwan) appeared online, we have a slightly longer preview — and, up above, a gorgeous poster — that’s selling the film to Chinese audiences.
Those of us in the U.S. should see it before long, what with distribution from Well Go USA Entertainment having been set in place, but this will have to do for the meantime. I’m doing everything I can to avoid so much as a second from the film, which means I can’t tell you how these previews differ — but our review from Cannes, where it took home the Best Director prize, will praise The Assassin to the high heavens. We called it “a movie so utterly, defiantly itself is never intended for the masses,” continuing by saying, “To those who seek to be challenged by uniquely cinematic voices, however, the towering achievement that is The Assassin should be apparent. Unhurried, mood-driven, pregnant with a transcendent reflection on life and death, The Assassin is a singular vision realized with absolute mastery of style and a lightness of touch that’s to die for. Of all the competition titles in Cannes this year, it just might be the most vitally unmissable.”
9th-century China. 10-year-old general’s daughter Nie Yinniang is abducted by a nun who initiates her into the martial arts, transforming her into an exceptional assassin charged with eliminating cruel and corrupt local governors. One day, having failed in a task, she is sent back by her mistress to the land of her birth, with orders to kill the man to whom she was promised – a cousin who now leads the largest military region in North China. After 13 years of exile, the young woman must confront her parents, her memories and her long-repressed feelings.
A slave to the orders of her mistress, Nie Yinniang must choose: sacrifice the man she loves or break forever with the sacred way of the righteous assassins.
The Assassin is likely to open in the U.S. this year, though no release date has been set.