Formalism and Realism in the Movie Hero

Movie: Hero Director: Zhang Yimou Cast : Jet Li, Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Maggie Cheung Year of production: 2002 Country of production: China Language: Mandarin Film synopsis: The Qin King was obsessed with conquering all of China and becoming the first Emperor. He had been the target of assassins throughout the other states. Among them none inspired as much fear as the three legendary assassins, Broken Sword, Flying Snow and Sky. To anyone who defeated the three assassins, the King of Qin promised great power, mountains of gold and a private audience with the King himself.
Following this Nameless came to the palace bearing the legendary weapons of the slain assassins, sitting in the palace, and told his extraordinary tale. Journal question: How does the colour cinematography of Hero (Zhang Yimou, 2002) contribute to formalism? “In art theory, formalism is the concept that a work’s artistic value is entirely determined by its form—the way it is made, its purely visual aspects, and its medium. Formalism emphasizes compositional elements such as color, line, shape and texture rather than realism, context, and content. . In Hero, Zhang Yimou combines cinematography with mise en scene to bring his own vision of the story, particularly with the use of certain colours. There are a total of five colours in this movie which choosed to express different versions or point of views ; black, white, red, blue, and green. Zhang Yimou uses the four colours, Red, Green, Blue and White, to tie in four different segments of the story. On the other hand, each of them also contains a different story The King of Qin’s palace is black, enlivened only by splashes of red.
This forms the beginning and the end of the story and the overall feel of this sequence extends into the first fight between Nameless and Sky. The chosen colour metaphorically represents the battle between good and evil. Red dominates the first version of the story by Nameless in which he describes the calligraphy school, the attack by the Qin army, the stabbing of Broken Sword and the subsequent fight between Flying Snow and Moon. The color of red brings emotion, such as love, anger, passion nd romance. It portrays the tension between lovers and their passion for revenge to the King Qin. The costumes of the characters are in red, as well as the props. The red is a Kodak red as said by the film’s cinematographer. It’s a much more saturated solid red. Blue becomes the colour for the second version of the story by the King himself. During the part of the story telled by the King, it evolved some fighting sequence in a lake.

Since the colour of water is blue, so this section of story surrounded by blue colour with costumes and props and also location as well as the lake. Blue also represents peace, calmness and detachment. The colour suits the King as he shows peace in discovering Nameless true plan, which is to kill the King. The story version of the king surrounded with blue colour as well. Green is the colour for the story that Nameless doesn’t necessarily know since it covers the first meeting of Broken Sword and Flying Snow and also the failed assassination attempt.
Since green colour known for memories and knowledge, it used to portray the flashback scene which evolve broken sword and flying snow. Broken Sword believes that the King of Qin has the power to unite these kingdoms for the greater good of the future. White is the final colour, dominating the deaths of Flying Snow and Broken Sword and alternating with the black sequences back in the palace. this scene is achieved through mise en scene, cinematography and post-production. The characters wear white and the props are in white colour.
The lighting is over exposed to highlight the white colour . The scene reflects truth of the characters’ intentions. Reading synopsis: The Language of Film Mise en scene, cinematography, editing and sound can be combined to form a language that is used to tell stories and express meanings. Reference: Abrams, Bell and Udris (2001) “The Language of Film”, Studying Film, London: Arnold, 92-116. Emily Gems: Joyful Crystals ; Gemstones Retrieved 15th August, 2011, from http://crystal-cure. com/black. html

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