Entertainment & Arts

Assassin wins festival critics award

Assassin Image copyright Film Publicity
Image caption The Assassin is set in the 9th Century and tells the story of a female killer hired to kill corrupt government officials

Martial arts drama The Assassin has won a top international critics prize at the Palm Springs Film Festival.

The movie won the Fipresci award at the annual event that celebrates films in all languages.

Assassin is made by Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien and was his country's entry for this year's Academy Awards.

German drama Labyrinth of Lies won the audience award and Everything is Copy from the US won the documentary award.

The jury said Assassin was "one of the best films of a master director, and an example of the martial arts genre which is elevated into the realm of art by its superb visual style".

Assassin's Palm Springs award adds to a growing number of accolades being accumulated by the film, despite it not having been successful in its bid to be selected to compete at the Oscars in February.

Acting awards

It has already been named the best film of 2015 in a poll of 168 critics. Sight & Sound magazine put it top of its Films of the Year poll, ahead of Carol and Mad Max: Fury Road.

The film also earned Hou Hsiao-Hsien the Cannes Film Festival's best director prize in May.

The veteran director also won five awards at Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards, including best film and best director.

Set in the ninth century, it tells the story of female killer Nie Yinniang, played by Shu Qi, who is hired to kill corrupt government officials.

Elsewhere at the festival, the Fipresci best actor award in a foreign language film went to both Sigurour Sigurjonsson and Theodor Juliusson, stars of Iceland's Oscar submission Rams.

Best actress in a foreign language film went to Alena Mihulova from the Czech Oscar entry Home Care.

The John Schlesinger Award for a first-time documentary film-maker was awarded to Japan's Erik Shirai for his film The Birth Of Sake.

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