Zhang Yimou presents “Hero” as a martial arts extravaganzadefining the styles and lives of its fighters within Chinese tradition. Thisfilm is striking and enchanting that captures views in depth meanings thatviewers can see throughout the storyline. Many symbolic concepts were used innumerous of scenes however; there are several I have chosen to connect with thetheme.
They are the motif, long shot, medium shot, and close up views. The story describes the journey of a master swordsman who wasdetermined to assassinate Qin, the future emperor of China. With the help ofthree assassins Sky, Broken Sword, and Flying Snow, whose goal in life was totake the life of the emperor, Nameless gets a chance to perform his executionon him. This film consists of many twists and turns, making it very excitingand unpredictable. This movie was a combination of beautifully synchronized andspectacular battle scenes. The amazing action scenes just jump out of the screenand the film is still able to be touching to your heart. In every second ofthis film, you can feel the powerful emotions it successfully tries to induce,which gets you so caught up in what is going on in the movie.
This filmastonishes its viewers by its vivid colors and the whole movie is a painting inmotion. Vital color motifs both costumes and sets play a meaningfulrole in the pictorial aesthetics as well as the abstract imagery of this film.One that stood out to me was in one of the last scenes of the movie. It waswhen Nameless is executed at the doors of the massive Gates at the front of thekingdom. Nameless show true honor and self-pride because he knows he’s going tobe executed and he doesn’t restrain from it.
As you look at the overall picture there arehundreds of arrows that were shot into the gate and an outline of a human bodyin the middle of it portrays where Nameless’ body was. The color of the wholeclip was a blackish type theme, which symbolizes frank or rough in Chinese culture.Since Nameless was perceived as the “Hero” in this film, Emperor Qin would havea black theme around him throughout times in the movie. For example, at the endof the film, Emperor Qin is standing at his throne, looking straight aheadafter the execution of Nameless and the overall picture has a black theme/tingeto it, which overall gave me the idea of him as an antagonist to Namelessthroughout the movie. The use of digital enhancement techniques is a strikingelement of Hero. In addition, its execution is masterful, and its use appearsto be for art’s sake rather than for gratuitous showboating. (ThingsAsian)Yimou provides us with numerous scenes using long shot, medium shot, andclose-up methods.
For instance, the long shot scene where broken sword andEmperor Qin battled in his kingdom showed the viewers an abundant amount ofangles showing great illustrations of wuxia, which is Chinese swordplay. Theclip from Hero, in contrast, features longer shots and a much greater use ofthe wide shot, in which you can see the entire body of each actor. The use oflong and wide shots makes it easy to appreciate the martial arts skills of theactors. (Fighting Scene Editing and Cinematography) The medium shot scenesshowed impressive camera work, which made it generally very smooth and fluidfor viewers to see what real abilities and skills the actor had whileperforming wuxia throughout the movie. As for close-up shots, they emphasize acharacter’s emotional state. Whereas a mid-shot or wide-shot is more appropriatefor displaying martial arts, a close-up exaggerates facial expressions whichconvey emotion.
As in the film when Flying Snow decided to kill herself withthe same blade that she accidentally killed Broken Sword with. Giving aclose-up shot of the two characters faces shows how passionate they are for oneanother rather than seeing it in a far shot where you can’t see the emotions ontheir face. The viewer is drawn into the subject’s personal space and sharestheir feelings. (Close Up) The Wuxia scenes of the characters also showedsymbolism and some metaphor, which grabbed the viewer’s attention to recognizesuch things. Nameless and Broken Sword’s fought each other in their minds,which was in black & white to inform us that it was taking place in theirheads without explicitly saying so. Their thoughts and actions illustrated andreflected their feelings during the fight. In other battles, the character’soutfits provided symbols for the setting, for colors like blue for the lake andgreen for the forest. In conclusion, Yimou showing the viewers a variety of stylesand lives of fighters within the film and capturing numerous scenes showingwuxia from different angles helped with this movie and its success.
The vibrantcolor motifs in both sets and costumes provided visual aesthetics as well asthe metaphoric imagery of this film. Many will come away amazed at the powerand beauty of this film. There’s no doubt that Hero is a visually stunningfilm, but it’s also a stirring tale of heroism and sacrifice. Because this filmis remarkable and captivating, the view it apprehends with in-depth meaningsthat viewers can see throughout the storyline provides a great distinctivenessto this movie.