Pssst, want to check out Ying in our new look?
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If I hadn't know Zhang Yimou directed Shadow, I would have guessed just from the color treatment. In Hero, he Rashomoned the color scheme of each segment. In Curse of the Golden Flower, he smothered the Tang Dynasty in opulent purples, greens and golds. Shadow is just as distinctive, a desaturated black and white where only flesh tones and blood provide color over a stark but beautiful calligraphic world. There are wuxia elements, but they're almost entirely limited to the final confrontation between the Yang and Pei Kingdoms (one between small armies, the other a personal duel), and it's stuff you haven't really seen before, so it's cool and a little crazy. But for the most part, this is a high-stakes chess game between Pei's indolent King and his warmongering commander, the latter acting through his wife and his "shadow", a near-double who must play his part after he gets injured and sick. The theme of identity is addressed through the notion of building one's own, that we are perhaps who we choose to be, even if that is a mirror image (or shadow) of someone else. But I don't think it's really all that profound; we're really here for the court intrigue, the tense moments, the ironic reversals, the original fight choreography (umbrella fu!), and the slick and sumptuous cinematography and music.
Th cinematography is unreal! Every frame looks like a painting, and the score plays like nothing I’ve ever heard before in the best way possible. Amazing film altogether.
I've had to practice extreme self-control every time I carry an umbrella since seeing this one.
to see which of your friends have seen this movie!