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FILM : Zhang Yimou's " HERO " & " RAN" BY AKIRA KUROSAWA
& SERGIO LEONE & CLINT EASWOOD

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FILM : Zhang Yimou's " HERO " & " RAN" BY AKIRA KUROSAWA
& SERGIO LEONE & CLINT EASWOOD
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HERO : FILM REVIEW STUNNING POETRY IN MOTION - LEGEND MYTH & FANTASY - COMPARED TO DIRECTORS AKIRA KUROSAWA & SERGIO LEONE


JET LI in FILM HERO 2002
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JET LI IN FILM HERO
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POSTER FOR FILM HERO
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HERO /99minutes/ 2002
Director/Producer/Editor: Zhang Yimou

Jet Li - Nameless (Hero)
Tony Leung Chiu Wai - Broken Sword
Maggie Cheung - Flying Snow
Written by: Feng Li, Bin Wang, Yimou Zhang
Studio: Universal Pictures

HERO is a film which combines legend/ myth & historical events & elements of fantasy. It is an example of film as pure poetry.
FILM CLIPS FROM HERO:
HERO


HERO



Hero-Trailer



The story as it were takes place some 2,000 years ago in China during a time when the legendary King of Qin was trying to unify China. Though he is a ruthless tyrant he claims all that he truly desires is to bring peace to the land. Jet Li portrays the part of a Nameless swordsman who has defeated the three most dangerous enemies of the King. In doing so he is granted an audience with the King. He tells the story of how he defeated each warrior Broken Sword (Tony Leung), Flying Snow (Maggie Cheung) and Long Sky (Donnie Yen). As in Kurosawa's Rashomon the stories are told in flashbacks & the viewer becomes less certain about what is real & what has been embellished or left out. The stories are a mixture of truth & fantasy & later the King tells what he believes is the real story & that the Nameless one is really an assassin in league with the three enemies of the king.

The fight scenes are works of the imagination in which the combatants defy the laws of gravity creating wondrous images. Characters fly with ease through the air over lakes & trees run across water; water in fact takes on a strange solidity yet mercurial quality in these sequences.

Here is film making on a par with those of the brilliant & prolific Japanese director Akira Kurosawa especially his own martial arts films The Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, Sanjuro & his epic RAN .Jet Li's character is a Nameless enigmatic Hero like the character played by Toshiro Mifune in Yojimbo & Sanjuro & later adapted or copied by Clint Eastwood in the Sergio Leone films Fist Full of Dollars, For A few Dollars More & The Good ,the Bad & the Ugly & in Once Upon a Time in The West with Charles Bronson as the enigmatic harmonica playing stranger. These were among the first truly gritty & violent & realistic westerns which set new standards for westerns (all favourite films of mine..) I am not really a big fan of Martial arts movies but Hero like the Kurosawa films transcend the Genre . It is difficult to write about a film like HERO which is so visually stunning. It must be seen to be appreciated .

Here are some reviews found while surfing the net praising HERO & the work of the director ZHANG YIMOU.

"There's plenty to marvel at: notably Australian Chris Doyle's breathtaking cinematography, the production design (by Tingxiao Huo, who also art directed, and Zhenzhou Yi) and the costume design (by Emi Wada, a former collaborator with Kurosawa and significantly Peter Greenaway ). The film's visuals employs a distinct colour palette (red, white, blue, green then black) to differentiate each segment of the story

The set pieces, from a combat sequence on the surface of a lake to the remarkable "million arrows" finale, are something to behold too. "

And as reviewer Jonathan Dawson says in praising the director:

With Raise the Red Lantern (2001), Zhang Yimou burst upon the world with a sign that new Chinese cinema had its own marvellous and unique cinematic dreams and visions. Now, with Hero, he shows that perhaps no other filmmaking culture has the power and artistic traditions to turn cinema into a sensual poetry. This is a movie that is both as thrilling as any of the best of Hollywood’s action spectacles, yet resonates in the mind’s eye long after more hollow effects have faded away. Add to this a superb visual style and a powerful and resonating soundtrack and you have pure cinema – Chinese style – to dazzle all the world.

Jonathon Dawson at ABC TASMANIA
www.abc.net.au/tasmania/stories

And further as Michael Clarke in his review of Hero points out:

" But it is in the visual execution that "Hero" really stamps its mark. It is only when confronted with a movie like "Hero" that you become accutely aware of how the use of colour can enhance every aspect of a story. Zhang has not only delivered exquisite locations and sets, but has arranged everything around that location perfectly. Characters' costumes match the environment, and also the mood of the moment. A scene that's dominated by love and passion is set in red, while a tense confrontation is etched in black and dark hues. This is such sensitive film making, with a heart breaking attention to detail.

For many audience members, they will come to "Hero" thanks to their exposure to Ang Lee's breakthrough hit "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon". And while on the surface the two films may appear similar, there are distinct differences. The action sequences here are first class, but not as dynamic as Lee's film, but here they are more a part of a developing storyline, rather than set pieces designed to wow an audience largely unfamililar with the martial arts style.

"Hero" is a masterfully realized film, it's broad in scope, and rich in detail, but ultimately it works on an intimate level, and reminds us that cinema is a global artform."

- Michael Clarke at ABC NORTH QUEENSLAND
/www.abc.net.au/northqld/stories

see channel4.com/film - Hero
www.channel4.com/film/reviews

tiscali.film & tv
www.tiscali.co.uk/entertainment/film/reviews/hero

see JEF& LYN at Film-Critiques.com
www.film-critiques.com/hero

also see article on Director ZHANG YIMOU by Mary Farquhar at SENSES OF CINEMA
www.sensesofcinema.com

similar themes & styles


SERGIO LEONE'S GREAT EPIC WESTERN THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY
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SERGIO LEONE'S A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (1964) CLINT EASTWOOD AS THE NAMELESS STRANGER & HERO
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POSTER FOR ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (1968)
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CHARLES BRONSON IN SERGIO LEONE'S BRILLIANT EPIC ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST(1968)
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Sergio Leone -Once Upon a Time in the West Arcade Fire-My Body is A Cage
ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST


SEGIO LEONE -THE GOOD THE BAD & THE UGLY- Trailer



SERGIO LEONE FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (1964)
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Film Personality Poster: Classic pose by Sergio Leone's muse the ' Man With No Name '; Clint Eastwood the most famous cowboy ever to stroll across the screen... Seen here in a pose from the first of the amazing spaghetti western trilogy - A Fist Full of Dollars.

see website :fistful-of-leone.com
a tribute to the masterful Sergio Leone

see SERGIO LEONE ( 1929-1989) by Daniel Edwards
at SENSES OF CINEMA
site contains filmography & articles on the films



AKIRA KUROSAWA'S RAN(1985)
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AKIRA KUROSAWA'S SEVEN SAMURAI
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AKIRA KUROSAWA'S YOJIMBO( 1961) TOSHIRU MIFUNE AS THE NAMELESS STRANGER & HERO
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AKIRA KUROSAWA'S RASHOMON (1950)
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SCENE FROM AKIRA KUROSAWA'S RASHOMON (1950)
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POSTER OF AKIRA KUROSAWA'S SANJURO - TOSHIRO MIFUNE AS THE ENIGMATIC STRANGER & HERO (1955)
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see AKIRA KUROSAWA (1910-1998) BY DAN HARPER
www.sensesofcinema.com
& www.asianfilms.org/japan/kurosawa

Akira Kurosawa
Extensive career-spanning retrospective from the British Film Institute.
www.bfi.org.uk/features/kurosawa

Great Performances . Kurosawa | PBS
The cinematic titan who directed such masterpieces as RASHOMON, SEVEN SAMURAI,
and RAN, Akira Kurosawa is the focus of a new two-hour special.
www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/shows/kurosawa

Flim Clips of Kurosawa FILMS:
RAN- KUROSAWA
Kurosaw's version of " KING LEAR "



Ran Kurosawa -Remastered -Trailer



Kurosaw's Yojimbo Toshiro Mifune


Kurosaw's Sanjuro Toshiro Mifune


Kurosaw's The Bad Sleep Well - Japanese Gangster Film A MORALITY PLAY

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