Formalism and Realism in the Movie Hero

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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 scène 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...
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