HERO / YING XIONG Part of the Colour Across Chinese Cinema Series - Free
Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, this sumptuous period film set in ancient China is loosely based on the well-known assassination plots against the despotic King of Qin–a historical tale transformed here into a ravishing classic of the Wuxia martial arts genre. The most expensive film made in China at the time of its release, Hero is best known for its stunning effects, remarkable fight sequences and vivid colour. Director Zhang Yimou is perhaps China's most famed film colourist. Establishing colour as a key element of his visual style when he emerged on the international art cinema circuit in the 1980s and 1990s, his work continues to push the boundaries of colour's expressive potential. In his most famous early works, colour spills over into the narrative of his films whether the flowing red wine of Red Sorghum (1988), the prismatic dye vats of Ju Dou (1990) or the titular flaming lanterns of Raise the Red Lantern (1991). In Hero, the highly stylised colour coding of the film's sequences invites audiences to speculate about the purpose of these hues, which may carry deep symbolic meaning or purely function as a gorgeous, decorative surfaces. The opulent palette for Hero was not determined solely by the director however, but developed in consultation with both Australian cinematographer Christopher Doyle (best known for his collaborations with Hong Kong director Wong Kar-Wai) and Australian post-production firm Cinevex Atlab, who undertook the film's stunning digital colour grading.
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