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2015 Cannes Critics’ Panel Day 9: Does Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Killer Instinct Found in “The Assassin”

Taking a page from WKW, Taiwanese master filmmaker Hou Hsiao-hsien took a full eight years working on martial arts film, The Assassin. He first surfaced on the Croisette in Directors’ Fortnight section in 1988 with Daughter of the Nile, and since then the Main Comp have owned most of his filmography: The Puppetmaster (1993), Goodbye South, Goodbye (1996), Flowers of Shanghai (1998), Millennium Mambo (2001), Three Times (2005), Flight of the Red Balloon (2008) and let us not forget his worn out theatre segment in the 60th anniversary anthology film To Each His Own Cinema. Looking at our grid, The Assassin was either worth the weight or…was worn out long before it’s final edit. Starring Shu Qi (she made her mark on Millennium Mambo and showed up in Three Times and 2011 short film omnibus 10+10) this claws away at the decline of the Tang Dynasty. We’re hopeful that an eight year absence means quality reigns.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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