Taiwan selected “The Assassin” as its official foreign-language entry for the 2016 Academy Awards.
Director Hou Hsiao-hsien’s art-house martial-arts film stars actress Shu Qi as an expert assassin in 9th-century China. Mr. Hou won the best-director award for the film at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year.
“‘The Assassin’ was selected because the film’s technical aspect has reached a pinnacle,” Taiwan’s ministry of culture said in a statement. “The film conveys a classical atmosphere and humanity through its cinematography, lighting, art direction and character modeling. Director Hou Hsiao-hsien’s film techniques have remained the same, but the film shows Hou’s strong ambition to create a new film language and style,” according to the statement, which was issued by Well Go USA, the film’s U.S. distributor.
The film opened around Asia last month and currently is screening at this week’s Toronto International Film Festival. It will also screen at the New York Film Festival, which opens later in September, prior to its release in the U.S. on Oct. 16.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences typically releases a short list of films eligible for the foreign-language category prior to its announcement of five nominated films. The full list of nominations for the 2016 Oscars is scheduled for Jan. 14, and the awards ceremony will take place on Feb. 28.