The Assassin

Loading the player ...

Taiwan | 2015 | 104 Minutes | Hou Hsiao-Hsien

Now Playing

SIFF Cinema Egyptian | Through Nov 19
SIFF Film Center & SIFF Cinema Uptown | Nov 20–25

Legendary director Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s awe-inspiring take on the traditional wuxia martial arts film, this visually ravishing epic follows a female assassin ordered to kill her former betrothed. Taiwan’s official Oscar entry for Best Foreign Language Film, and winner of Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival.

In 9th-century China, a young girl (Shu Qi) is abducted from the family of a decorated general and raised by a nun who trains her in the martial arts. After 13 years of exile, she is returned to the land of her birth as an exceptional assassin, with orders to kill her former betrothed. She must confront her parents, her memories, and her long-repressed feelings in a choice to sacrifice the man she loves or break forever with the sacred way of the righteous assassins.


“With and without allegory, to watch The Assassin is to be carried along in the river of life, in all its ecstasy and terror.” – Ella Taylor, NPR

“Combining Hou's patient, observant style with a historical martial arts tale, the film is a fascinating hybrid of craft, genre and story.” – Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times

“One of the most flat-out beautiful movies of the last decade.” –Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, AV Club

  • Original Language Title: Nie Yinniang
  • Director: Hou Hsiao-Hsien
  • Principal Cast: Shu Qi, Cheng Chang, Tsumabuki Satoshi
  • Country: Taiwan
  • Year: 2015
  • Running Time: 104 Minutes
  • Language: Mandarin