Voted Sight and Sound magazine's top film of 2015 and winner of the Best Director prize at Cannes, Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s stunning film follows a lethal assassin as she’s sent back to her homeland to kill the powerful governor of Weibo, a man to whom she was once betrothed. But once there, Yinniang’s emotions lead her to defy her orders, only to discover a new, unexpected source of strength.
Boasting some of the most stunning, sumptuously composed cinematography ever committed to digital film, The Assassin offers a bold and highly original take on the wuxia (martial arts fantasy) genre; one which focuses on the meditative, zen-infused moments between battles rather than the act of combat itself. Despite this emphasis, the drama is punctuated by cleverly kinetic fight sequences, which Hou and cinematographer Mark Lee Ping Bing audaciously frame in exquisite wide shots rather than the quick-cut montages traditional to the genre. The result is a film that opens up wuxia fiction to a wholly new direction, while also illustrating that Hou’s singular approach to pacing and tone can translate across genres.
Action and Adventure
Blade of the Immortal
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Kill Bill Vol. 2
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Thriller 2017 124 mins Director: Jung Byung-gil
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Action and Adventure 2016 90 mins Director: Ben Wheatley
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The Age of Shadows
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Action and Adventure 2016 107 mins Director: Peter Berg
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Sight & Sound's Best Films
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Drama 2014 197 mins Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
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Drama 2014 98 mins Director: Christian Petzold
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Drama 2015 88 mins Director: Sean Baker
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Featuring Chang Chen
Action and Adventure 2013 109 mins Director: Wong Kar-wai
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Mad to Be Normal
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Sicilian Ghost Story
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Drama 2015 90 mins Director: Bilall Fallah
Star-crossed lovers from rival street gangs conduct an illicit affair in this pulsating urban romance.
Crime 2017 80 mins Director: Travis Mathews
From the director of Interior. Leather Bar. comes this eerie and powerful psychological thriller that offers a disturbing insight into the dark heart of Trump’s America.
Girls on Film 3: Goddesses
Anthology 2018 111 mins Director: Karishma Dev Dube
Eight more award-winning short films from around the world, exploring female desire, empowerment and the realities of being a woman, a lesbian and a feminist in the modern world.