REVIEW: 刺客聶隱娘 [Nie yin niang] [The Assassin] [2015]

“She wanted me to see her before she took my life” Without a doubt one of the most gorgeous films of 2015, Hsiao-Hsien Hou‘s 刺客聶隱娘 [Nie yin niang] [The Assassin] is also high on the list for most convoluted. I still have little clue about what happened throughout the story—based on a late ninth century short text by Xing Pei—besides the fact that the titular assassin (Qi Shu‘s Nie Yinniang) was tasked with killing her cousin Tian Ji’an (Chen Chang). Everything else on the periphery of that central plot deals…

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REVIEW: 三槍拍案驚奇 [A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop] [2010]

“You are such a wimp, the biggest I’ve ever seen” A prolific director in China, Yimou Zhang found an audience in America with the wonderful Hero and his follow-up House of Flying Daggers. Curse of the Golden Flower came next with its stunning visuals but lackluster storyline that left me cold and uninterested, thinking perhaps his style had gotten the best of him on the almost film per year pace he had begun. But then he decided to do something completely out of left field, pushing the serious, feudal artistry…

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