I know I have to see Hou Hsiao-Hsien‘s The Assassin during my stay in Cannes, but I just couldn’t make myself catch this evening’s 7 pm showing. I told myself it was because I’d napped for two hours and woken up slowly and took my time writing my Youth review, and because I wanted to finish it properly before running out at 6:30 pm, and that was true to a large extent. But if I didn’t have that excuse I’d have made up another. My loathing for Asian martial arts cinema led me years ago to pledge to never again submit, but I’ve been goaded by some in the HE community into manning up and seeing this thing and so I will reluctantly do so. But it feels so good right now to have ducked out, like playing hookey from school when I was 12 or 13. I’ll catch The Assassin at Friday afternoon’s Salle du Soixantieme screening. Update: The Guardian‘s Peter Bradshaw attended this evening and is basically calling it masterfully composed but an elusive firefly that’s a bit hard to follow.