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
Action and Adventure 2018 108 mins
The Salem witch trials are given a digital overhaul in this ferocious female action film.
The Bourne Identity
Crime 2002 118 mins Director: Doug Liman
The spy thriller that overturned the genre stars Matt Damon as the amnesiac searching for his true identity.
The Bourne Ultimatum
Thriller 2007 115 mins Director: Paul Greengrass
Director Paul Greengrass returns for the third Bourne film, famed for its incredibly tense opening sequence in London Waterloo station.
The Bourne Supremacy
Crime 2004 108 mins Director: Paul Greengrass
Britain’s Paul Greengrass takes the helms for the spy sequel, shaping the series with his penchant for documentary-style realism.
Action and Adventure 2017 100 mins Director: Lance Daly
During the Great Famine, an Irish Ranger returns from war to discover even greater devastation at home.
The Jungle Book
Children's 1942 106 mins Director: Zoltan Korda
A Technicolor marvel and early adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s celebrated novel, following a young boy raised in the jungle by animals.
Sight & Sound's Best Films
The Duke of Burgundy
Drama 2014 104 mins Director: Peter Strickland
Peter Strickland’s visually and aurally intoxicating tale of sadomasochistic power-play is a daringly erotic sensory feast.
Goodbye to Language
Drama 2014 70 mins Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Jean-Luc Godard’s typically innovative and playful meditation on technology, love and language was acclaimed one of the best films of 2014.
Drama 2015 82 mins Director: Lucile Hadzihalilovic
The long-awaited second feature from Lucile Hadžihalilović (Innocence) is a gorgeously surreal coming-of-age tale laced with bizarre body-horror.
No Home Movie
Documentary 2015 118 mins Director: Chantal Akerman
Chantal Akerman’s rigorously observational portrait of her late mother takes on a whole new significance in the wake of the director’s own premature passing.
Drama 2014 98 mins Director: Christian Petzold
Nina Hoss is superb as concentration camp survivor who assumes a new identity, in Christian Petzold’s intricate post-WWII thriller.
Cemetery of Splendour
Drama 2015 120 mins Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s imaginative, sensuous and enigmatic film about soldiers suffering from a mysterious sleeping sickness.
Featuring Chang Chen
Action and Adventure 2013 109 mins Director: Wong Kar-wai
Wong Kar-Wai’s lavish martial arts biopic tells the story of Ip Man, the legendary trainer who became Bruce Lee’s mentor.
Sorry to Bother You
Comedy 2018 111 mins Director: Boots Riley
A mild-mannered call centre operator whizzes up the corporate ladder after he discovers a unique ability to adopt a "white voice" in writer-director Boots Riley's breathlessly inventive satire.
Heat and Dust
Drama 1983 130 mins Director: James Ivory
Julie Christie and Greta Scacchi star in this sensual and evocative Merchant Ivory classic, adapted by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala from her Booker Prize-winning novel.
Drama 1963 105 mins Director: Clive Donner
Clive Donner directs this classic adaptation of the Harold Pinter play, with Alan Bates, Donald Pleasence and Robert Shaw.
Romance 1965 122 mins Director: James Ivory
When a young British actress from a touring troupe falls in love with an Indian playboy, the star-crossed lovers must overcome cultural differences and the scheming of a fierce rival.
Drama 2018 83 mins Director: Wanuri Kahiu
Romantic sparks fly between the daughters of two opposing politicians in Wanuri Kahiu’s neon-bright story of forbidden love in Kenya.
A Deal With The Universe
Documentary 2018 92 mins Director: Jason Barker
This extraordinarily intimate documentary from Jason Barker tells the inspiring tale of a very different kind of pregnancy.