The Assassin (Nie Yinniang)


Century Larkspur Thu, Oct 8, 2015 6:15 PM
Film Info
Section:World Cinema
Running Time:105 min
Director:Hou Hsiao-hsien
Producer:Hou Hsiao-hsien
LIao Ching-Song
Screenwriter:Chu Tien-wen
Hsieh Hai-Meng
Zhong Acheng
Cinematographer:Mark Lee Ping Bing
Editor:Huang Chih-Chia
Liao Ching-Song
Cast:Shu Qi
Chang Chen
Zhou Yun
Satoshi Tsumabuki
Print Source:Well Go USA
Note Writer:David Fear


Legendary Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsiao-hsien (Cannes 2015 Best Director winner) returns with his first feature in eight yearsan intimate, ninth century-set wuxia epic that blends period drama, political intrigue, and inter-generational storytelling elevated to dizzying heights. Yinniang (Millennium Mambo’s Shu Qi) excels in the art of killing. An act of mercy angers her handler, who punishes the beautiful assassin with a special assignment to dispatch a powerful governor (Chang Chen). But what exactly is the backstory between the killer and her target? And who’s that mysterious masked woman in the frame? Like his masterpiece Flowers of Shanghai, Hou’s latest is filled with stunning imagery, lush set design, and the sort of elegant tracking shots that sends cinephiles to the moonand beyond. While The Assassin has its share of lightning-fast fights, it prizes atmosphere as much as action in a way that transcends the genre. In a wordbreathtaking!

Sponsored by:

Co-presented by Center for Asian American Media (CAAM)

Additional Information

After film studies at the Taiwan National University of Arts, Hou Hsiao-Hsien worked as an assistant director, notably for Li Hsing. In 1980, he directed his first feature, Cute Girl, followed by The Boys from Fengkuei in 1984. A winner at the Three Continents Festival, this semi-autobiographical tale marked his first collaboration with Chu Tien-Wen, who would become his regular screenwriter. Three highly personal films, largely inspired by his own life, followed: A Summer at Grandpa’s (1984); A Time to Live, A Time to Die (1985, FIPRESCI Award, Berlin); and Dust in the Wind (1986). In 1989, he won the Golden Lion in Venice for A City of Sadness, continuing with The Puppetmaster (1993, Jury Prize, Cannes); Good Men, Good Women (1995); Goodbye South, Goodbye (1997); Flowers of Shanghai (1998); Millennium Mambo (2001); Café Lumiere (2003); and Three Times (2005), his sixth selection in Cannes. In 2008, Flight of the Red Balloon was presented at Cannes in Un Certain Regard. Hou’s powerful and unique filmmaking has also garnered the attention of several documentary makers, including Olivier Assayas , Todd McCarthy, and Jia Zhang Ke.