Director Hou Hsiao-hsien's (侯孝賢) wuxia epic "The Assassin (刺客聶隱娘)” will represent Taiwan to vie for the best foreign-language film at the upcoming Academy Awards.
The film was selected for its technical merits, cinematography, lighting, artistic direction, and character design. The decision was made after the Ministry of Culture met with the Motion Picture and Drama Association, R.O.C.
"Director Hou Hsiao-hsien's film techniques have remained the same, but the film shows Hou's strong ambition in creating a new film language and style,” the association noted.
Based on a Tang Dynasty legend, "The Assassin” tells the tale of a mysterious femme fatale who possesses unparalleled martial art skills. The screenplay, written Newman Prize for Chinese Literature laureate Chu Tien-wen (朱天文), was based on the original story from Tang short fiction author Pei Xing (裴鉶).
The impeccable portrayal of humanity and the classic atmosphere of the Tang Dynasty was augmented by the film's unique dialogue, which was sparse and spoken in antiquated Chinese to reflect the director's vision of that time period.
The 2015 release features a stellar cast, including Taiwanese actress Shu Qi (舒淇) in the titular role, Taiwanese actors Chang Chen (張震) and Ethan Ruan (阮經天), and Japanese actor-singer Satoshi Tsumabuki (妻夫木聡).
"The Assassin,” Hou's first feature film in seven years and his first foray into the martial arts genre, earned him the Best Director title at the 2015 Cannes Festival.