Zhang Yimou has directed the film Hero. The story is about a nameless soldier who has managed to eliminate the three assassins. The king of Qin was obsessed with the idea of conquering China to become the first emperor. This has caused him to be a target of several assassin attempts in the country. The three assassins who had been feared by Qin had him promise anyone who had conquered the three, power, gold, and the king’s audience. A nameless man came to the palace proclaiming to bear the weapons of the slain assassins. He sat at the palace telling the extraordinary tale of how he had conquered Broken Sword, Sky, and Flying Snow. The inconsistency of how the killing took place causes the story to be retold in three different versions. The different versions tell of different stories of how the warrior had managed to kill the warriors. The movie is centered on one concept which is heroism. The movie portrays several heroic virtues. The person chosen by the audience as the hero is dependent on the moral standing of the viewer. In the movie, heroism is portrayed as containing its flaws (Bordwell and Thompson 2001 p.156 and Khairry 2009 p.1).
The director uses mis-en-scene and cinematography to bring out the vision he had about the story. Mis-en scene entails everything that deals with the film’s composition, sound, costume, cinematography, set decoration, and editing. The manner in which the director merged the movie making factors creates visual aspects as opposed to making the film appear realistic. The film seems to have been originally intended not for watching but for poetry (Bordwell and Thompson 2001 p.156 and Khairry 2009, p.1).
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The three different stories have been presented with unique color schemes and the motive of conveying a dreamlike effect of the stories
The film has maintained an array of vibrant and beautiful colors. Due to this, it has been beautifully shot. The film uses the element of color having five different types of color. The use of these colors has made the movie to be perceived as realistic by the audience. The director of the film has managed to maintain the beautiful array of colors. The story about the nameless has been told using yellow and red motifs. The king’s story has been told using blue motifs while that of Broken Sword has been told with the use of green motifs. These colors serve the purpose of acting as symbols. The colors also have the effect of making the impossible pictures very believable. The five sequences of color are assumed to have a political message.
The grey and black color in the king’s palace has red motifs. This scene forms the start and the end of the story which has an extended effect onto the fight between Sky and nameless. The dominant color in the first version is red while blue dominates in the second version. Green is used in the third story where nameless is completely unaware of the failed assassination. White dominates the killing of Snow and Sword while black is used to alternate with the king’s palace. The use of the different colors is to tie the four-story segments together (Bordwell and Thompson 2001 p.156 and Khairry 2009, p.1).
Another mis-en-scene element used in the film is the execution of the settings where the fights are taking place
These scenes have been choreographed to make the fights appear as if it were a dance instead of a violent act. The effect is that the audience accepts the beautiful location and the visuals of the film as realistic. There is the scene in which the two women in red face each other, but they are in a surrounding that is majorly yellow with trees having brown leaves. This particular scene has been executed perfectly; the visuals, cinematography, the epic score and even the editing have all been marvellous (Bordwell and Thompson 2001 p.156 and Khairry 2009, p.1).
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Each of the colored settings tells a different story. The green setting tells of the reminiscing story while the blue setting tells of the struggle between Sword, Nameless, and the Flying Moon. The layout of the plot is unique with an artistic way of telling a romance story. The plot of the stories tells about the compassion and the love that exists in the world of heroes. The story has an international standard and the magnanimity of the heroes (Bordwell and Thompson 2001 p.156 and Khairry 2009, p.1).
The imagery of death represented by the black and gray sequences has been associated with the fortress occupied by the king to which Ming gains unconditional access after proving his loyalty to the king. The architectural sophistication of this setting has been enhanced by having camera shots from doorways as well as aerial shot. The aerial shot draws attention to the doorframes and allays that look like boxes. When the characters have been entrenched in the structures, this draws attention to the entrapping and oppressive nature of the architecture. The characters have been made ensnared and diminished by the dark, hard, and cold iron that has been used to make the structure (Bordwell and Thompson 2001 p.156 and Khairry 2009, p.1).
The costumes in the film are avant-garde and show the level of sophistication of the film’s characters and designer. The lighting at some points is dark with interwoven throbbing of labyrinth lights. The use of red for this lighting brings out the sexual metaphors that are associated with horror movies. The dark lighting also explores the dark nature of jealousy, violence, and hatred.
Mis-en-scene entails the way in which the plot is relayed to the audiences through sound and picture. The picture is affected by factors of editing, cinematography, and symbolic inserts. In this film, the pictures depict a strong and vibrant use of colors. The elements display a work of art and an organized visual masterpiece which the director must have desired of the movies. The end of the film brings the audience to a full circle with a coffin-like enclosure of the black sequences which are seen at the beginning of the film. The last shot of the film takes place at the Great Wall of China. The wall which is meant to show exclusion and confinement portrays expansion and distance in the film that is beyond human imagination (Bordwell and Thompson 2001 p.156 and Khairry 2009, p.1 )