20.9.15

Slow-boiled assassin


With culinary metaphors, it is hard to get lost.

If you are in a pressure cooker, you better find ways to get out fast. And if your head is on the chopping board, then buddy, I hope for your sake that the knife is swift and sharp. Being in a pickle, well, there's always sour aftertaste. And that hardboiled detective novel is all dark, cynical, tobacco-chewing, drugs, bullets and sex, minus the rock and roll. 

In this family of metaphors, the slow boil seems ambiguous. A slow boil suggests the pain of a long arduous torture (think mesapotamian torture method for your worst enemy!) but also a complete and thorough accomplishment.

A slow boil is how I think of Hou Hsiao Hsien's The Assassin Nie Yin Niang 刺客聶癮娘. Hou has spent years reading about the Tang dynasty and preparing for this film. And there is nothing in the film that is extraneous. He shows you enough for you to do the rest of the work, piecing both the narrative and characters together - it is still on a slow boil in my mind!

So in that spirit of precision and editing, all I have left to say is this:

Friends, go watch the film before it disappears from the big screen (it is a big-screen film!). It is also screening at The Projector, for those of you who want more of the indie vibe. And if you need any more convincing, there's Zhang Zhen and Shuqi in the movie, both good-looking but still not as stunning as the cinematography and art direction.

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