Intended as the concluding film in the trilogy on the modern history of Taiwan began with Beiqing Chengshi (1989), this film reveals the story through three levels: a film within a film as ... See full summary »
In 8th century China, 10-year-old general's daughter Nie Yinniang is handed over to 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 betrothed - a cousin who now leads the largest independent 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.Written by
Director Hou told the New York Times in an interview published on 10/07/2015 that he would break the fight scene into smaller parts as the actors weren't skilled fighters. He would also let the actors start fighting when they chose rather than directing them to fight. See more »
The way of the sword is pitiless. Saintly virtues play no part in it.
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In Japan, the film has been released with an additional footage contains the scene involving the Mirror Polisher (Satoshi Tsumabuki) and the wife of the Mirror Polisher (Shiori Kutsuna). This version is only available on Japanese Blu-Ray from Shochiku Home Video but without English subs. See more »
Almost eight years after his last film, acclaimed auteur Hou Hsiao- Hsien was named best director in the last Cannes festival. This is a Tang Dynasty-inspired historical drama, taking place in the ninth- century China, with a woman called Nie Yinniang (Shu Qi) acting as the called Assassin. She is very capable with martial arts and knives and her last mission (ordered by her nun mentor) is to kill her beloved cousin. To be honest, I couldn't exactly follow the story, as the script was empty of meaning and character development. Hou is an absolute minimalist and fond of repeating patterns, giving its film a poetic premise. The cinematography is great (Ping Bin Lee/ In the Mood for Love) and only the visuals represent the bitter emotional complexes of the movie. The pace is sleepy, the actors do not have much to do and the director describes the whole story as if he was in a dreamy delirium: presenting to us multiple versions of the same scene, that seem to happen with no logic and in undefined time.
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