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
FILM CLIPS FROM HERO:
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
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
see channel4.com/film - Hero
tiscali.film & tv
see JEF& LYN at Film-Critiques.com
also see article on Director ZHANG YIMOU by Mary Farquhar at SENSES OF CINEMA
similar themes & styles
SERGIO LEONE'S GREAT EPIC WESTERN
THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY Posted by Picasa SERGIO LEONE'S A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS
(1964) CLINT EASTWOOD AS THE NAMELESS STRANGER & HERO Posted by Picasa POSTER FOR ONCE UPON A TIME IN
THE WEST (1968) Posted by Picasa CHARLES BRONSON IN SERGIO LEONE'S
BRILLIANT EPIC ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST(1968) Posted by Picasa
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) Posted by Picasa
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
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) Posted by Picasa AKIRA KUROSAWA'S SEVEN SAMURAI Posted by Picasa AKIRA KUROSAWA'S YOJIMBO( 1961)
TOSHIRU MIFUNE AS THE NAMELESS STRANGER & HERO Posted by Picasa
AKIRA KUROSAWA'S RASHOMON (1950) Posted by Picasa SCENE FROM AKIRA KUROSAWA'S
RASHOMON (1950) Posted by Picasa POSTER OF AKIRA KUROSAWA'S
SANJURO - TOSHIRO MIFUNE AS THE ENIGMATIC STRANGER & HERO (1955) Posted by Picasa
see AKIRA KUROSAWA (1910-1998) BY DAN HARPER
Extensive career-spanning retrospective from the British Film Institute.
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.
Flim Clips of Kurosawa FILMS:
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