The Assassin

Synopsis: In 8th century China, 10-year-old general's daughter Nie Yinniang is handed over to a nun who initiates her into the martial arts, transforming her into an exceptional assassin charged with eliminating cruel and corrupt local governors. One day, having failed in a task, she is sent back by her mistress to the land of her birth, with orders to kill the man to whom she was betrothed - a cousin who now leads the largest independent military region in North China. After 13 years of exile, the young woman must confront her parents, her memories and her long-repressed feelings. A slave to the orders of her mistress, Nie Yinniang must choose: sacrifice the man she loves or break forever with the sacred way of the righteous assassins.
Genre: Action, Drama, History
Director(s): Hsiao-Hsien Hou
Production: Central Motion Pictures Corporation
  Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 30 wins & 61 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
105 min


In 7th century China,

the Tang Dynasty is in decline.

The Imperial Court seeks to protect itself

by establishing garrisons

at the frontiers of its empire.

Two centuries later,

the militarized provinces

waver in their loyalty to the Court.

Some move to distance themselves

from the Emperor's control.

At that time, Weibo asserts itself

as the strongest of those provinces.

That man poisoned his own father,

he killed his own brother.

His guilt condemns him.

Cut him down for me, expertly.

As if he were a bird in flight.

Don't pinch it!

Where's it going?

Where does it fly to?

Where indeed?

I want to touch it.

Where's it going?

Play with the ball.

Why did it take you so long?

The governor's son was there.

I could not bring myself to do it.

Another time,

first kill the one he loves,

and then the man himself.

You have mastered the sword

but your heart lacks resolve.

I shall return you to Weibo

to kill your cousin

Tian Ji'an.

The Assassin

My lady,

a nun is here.

She says she is bringing Yinniang back.

As your humble servant,

I bow to you, Your Reverence.

Yinniang has completed her studies.

Today she returns.

I'll take my leave of you.

The King of Kophen's bluebird

failed to sing for three years.

One day the Queen remarked:

Birds sing only to their own kind,

set the bird before a mirror!

The King heeded her advice.

The bluebird saw its own image,

it sang of its sadness,

it danced,

until it expired.

Yinniang, these clothes are for you.

While you were away with the nun,

your mother made them for you herself,

every spring and autumn.

Grandmother, my respects.


This is from your Master.

She asked the tea-traders to bring it here.

This jade was given

to Princess Jiacheng

when she was obliged

to marry the Lord of Weibo.

Her brother the Emperor

offered it as a farewell gift.

This jade

symbolizes a decisive break.

His Majesty was commanding her

to depart from his Court and to secure Weibo.

To prevent Weibo

from invading His Majesty's lands.

That year, your uncle and I

were in charge of ceremonial protocol.

I recall

that the princess refused her usual carriage.

So His Majesty gave her

an Imperial gold carriage.

When Princess Jiacheng reached Weibo,

she abandoned all her former customs

and adapted to the manners of Weibo.

She sent away the retinue of staff

provided by His Majesty.

She lavished gold and silk on them,

so that they could have their freedom.

Since then,

the Court is the Court

and Weibo is Weibo.

The Princess implemented that decisive break.

When her son Tian Ji'an came of age,

she divided two matching jades:

One to her son, one to you.

She wished the two of you

to maintain the imperial edict.

To be resolute

in preserving the peace between

the Imperial Court and Weibo.

His Majesty passed away four years ago.

One year later,

his nephew and heir also passed away.

When the imperial messenger

brought the sad news,

Princess Jiacheng coughed up blood

and hurled her pearls and jades

to the ground.

That year,

the glorious white peonies

she brought from the Court

withered overnight.

The Princess had one last concern.

Her heart was troubled by the thought...

that she had let you down.

A year ago,

the Court sent an official to Chengde

to console Wang Chengzong

for his father's death.

He persuaded Wang to pay

the Court taxes on salt and iron

and give away two provinces for a promotion.

The Court immediately established

in these two provinces

the Baoxin Garrison.

Lord Tian, you have a man in Chengde,

seeding trouble between

Wang and Xue Changchao.

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "The Assassin" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 24 Jan. 2021. <>.

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