Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s strikingly gorgeous martial arts mood piece The Assassin was one of our favorite films of last year. A mesmerizing adaptation of a 9th century tale about a woman sent to kill the man to whom she was once betrothed, the film was a longtime passion project for Hou, the Taiwanese master best known for his period dramas. As he told The A.V. Club in an interview, he first read the story in college, though it took decades (and an eight-year hiatus) for him to figure out how to bring it to the screen.
The Assassin is now coming to home video, and thanks to the movie’s distributor, Well Go USA, we’ve got an exclusive clip from the release’s behind-the-scenes supplements. Shot largely in boxy Academy ratio and super-saturated color, The Assassin doesn’t really look like any other martial arts movie ever made, and this clip takes a look at the creative philosophy shared by Hou and his longtime cinematographer Mark Lee Ping Bin. (There’s also a glimpse of one of the vintage 16mm Bolex cameras he originally wanted to shoot the move on.)
The Assassin will be available on Blu-Ray and DVD tomorrow, Tuesday, January 26.