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CANNES: Hou Hsiao-hsien’s ‘The Assassin’ Stalked by WellGo USA

The assassin Cannes Film Festival
Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Cannes competition film “The Assassin” will be released in North America through WellGo USA. The film is sold by French sales agency Wild Bunch.

The film receives its premiere toward the end of the festival on Thursday, May 21, at a gala that will see actress Shu Qi and Chang Chen accompany the legendary Taiwanese director up the Cannes red carpet.

The 9th-century story involves the daughter of a general first kidnapped and trained in martial arts by a nun. Later she returns to her parents but has to choose between the man she loves and the righteous assassin’s creed she has been taught. While the plot has the air of a generic martial arts film, in the hands of Hou, who is known for his slow storytelling and artful composition, it is likely to be anything but conventional fare.

The film has been nearly a decade in the making, dogged by a succession of financing and other crises that delayed and later interrupted filming. In the works for close to a decade, the film was shot by Hou’s longtime collaborator Mark Lee Ping-Bing and produced by Stephen Shin, Wen-Ying Huang, Chen Yiqi and Stephen Lam.

“We have a proud history of supporting films from Taiwan, and Hou Hsiao-Hsien is a legend,” said Doris Pfardrescher, president and CEO of Well Go USA. “It’s like someone made a wish list, and we got everything we could have hoped for: iconic director, stellar cast, and this exciting, moving story.”