One of the most celebrated filmmakers of the 1990s, Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien breaks an extended quiet spell with The Assassin, his latest feature since Flight of the Red Balloon (2007). The Assassin is set to be one of the year’s most notable films: not only for garnering Hou the Best Director prize at Cannes, but also for marking his unexpected entry into the Chinese martial arts wuxia genre (a type of Chinese martial arts film that includes the popular Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). Featuring perhaps the most meticulously rendered recreation of the late Tang Dynasty in cinema history, the film follows provincial rulers as they challenge the power of the royal court. With the beauty and stateliness of an ornate storybook, The Assassin reestablishes Hou as one of the most brilliant filmmakers working today. The film offers a stunning showcase for his precise cinematography, production design, and sound design—which here have as much power as its strikingly realized fight scenes.
Screens at the Portland Museum of Art, co-presented by SPACE Gallery.