Review: The Assassin, 2015, dir. Hou Hsiao-Hsien

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“Hou Hsiao-Hsien made a wuxia film. That career choice makes logical sense in a vacuum: Hou is positively obsessed with history, and history, more so than fantasy, is wuxia’s bread and butter. But there’s little in Hou’s body of work aside from his preoccupation with the past to suggest an interest in swordplay. He’s made period dramas about Taiwan’s economic flux during the Cold War, the country’s fifty year endurance of Japanese rule, and the atrocities committed by the Kuomintang government after control of the island retroceded to China in 1945; he’s told stories about young people coming of age in these eras, stories of fiscal collapse, familial destruction, and the sobering verities of adulthood.” (Via Birth.Movies.Death.)

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