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Childhood experiences informed 'The Assassin': Hou Hsiao-hsien

Childhood experiences informed 'The Assassin': Hou Hsiao-hsien

Taipei, Aug. 7 (CNA) Prominent Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien (???) said Friday that his childhood experiences with films and books have shaped him as a director and helped him make the acclaimed martial arts film "The Assassin" (???). Speaking at a press conference in Taipei to promote the film, Hou said he devoured martial arts and romance novels as a child and read almost every one of those types of novels available at his school library at the time. He also visited movie theaters frequently, said the 68-year-old, who won the best director award at the Cannes Film Festival in May with "The Assassin." "I would not be making films like this ("The Assassin") from the perspective that I did if it were not for those experiences during my childhood," Hou said. He said schools in Taiwan should show films to students from a young age and not just ask students to excel in exams and get into medical school. "Yes, you can save lives by studying medicine, but we are also saving lives by making movies," Hou said. When making "The Assassin," his first martial arts film, Hou said he wanted the fight scenes to be realistic and not go against the laws of gravity. "He didn't want all the flying around," said actor Chang Chen (??), who starred in the film. Actress Shu Qi (??), who played the title character Nie Yinniang (???), said the role of Nie was a great challenge for her because Hou asked her to be emotional but expressionless. "It was difficult. I cried three to four days for one of the scenes. I had to grieve but I could not show tears," she said. Set in ninth century China, the film is about a general's daughter -- Nie Yinniang -- who was abducted by a nun when she was 10 and trained to become an assassin. On one mission, Nie was sent to kill a governor whom she was promised to when she was young, and struggles with the choice of killing the man or not fulfilling her mission. Since the film premiered in Cannes on May 21, it has received accolades from critics. Variety's film critic Justin Chang described "The Assassin" as "a mesmerizing slow burn of a martial-arts movie that boldly merges stasis and kinesis, turns momentum into abstraction, and achieves breathtaking new heights of compositional elegance." The film will hit movie theaters around Taiwan on Aug. 28. (By Christie Chen)


Updated : 2021-09-23 10:30 GMT+08:00