heart of darkness
Reviewed by: Rebecca H
February 03, 2008
Does the World Need a Hero?
The title of Zhang Yi Mou's latest film Hero purposely emphasizes the singularity of its title. Yet perhaps it can be said that if the movie is indeed centered solely on just ONE concept, notion and example of the divine Hero that could be deduced, then its scope may be a bit too narrow-minded. One can say that the movie depicts various heroic virtues, but exactly whom one views as the hero will be dependant on one's values and perspective. If there is something that should be discerned from the whole movie, it is that the concept of 'heroism' is not something that is without its flaws. However, can it be said that Zhang's feelings towards the various characters are equally neutral? If the world does need a definition of Hero, who would be the one that fits this title most aptly?
If one character must be argued as the hero, it should be Can Jian (Broken Sword) played by Tony Leung. The word 'Jian' (Sword) written by Can Jian hangs behind Qin Shi Huang throughout most of the movie and functions as the centerpiece that brings together the two values of power. Power is granted through both the wielding of the sword, and the morality fostered by the withholding and moderation of that power through the abandonment of the sword. Can Jian is the singular entity which embodies the mutual existence of these two values - the ability to look beyond that of one's 'self' and one's own sufferings in order to incorporate the fate of 'Tian Xia' (the world), and the ability to forsake violence (as well as personal vengeance) to usher in peace.
Although some people have interpreted Wu Ming's (Nameless) decision of refraining from the assassination of Qin Shi Huang as the act of a hero, yet they seem to have forgotten that Wu Ming's act was only an incorporation of Can Jian's principles. It was Can Jian who pointed out the key to understanding the larger picture - something of which Wu Ming probably never completely understood even until the very end as implicated through his inability to decipher the meaning within Can Jian's word 'sword'. By contrast, it was the enemy Qin Shi Huang who was able to comprehend Can Jian's word, and he points out that the highest level one can accomplish when wielding the sword is the ability to abandon not just the physical sword in your hands but more importantly, the metaphorical sword in your heart.
In the White sequence, Can Jian asked Wu Ming before he sets off to assassinate Qin Shi Huang whether Wu Ming's sword was based on hatred. Wu Ming admits that it is, thus acknowledging with an expression of remorseful grief on his face, the hatred and vengeance that has occupied his life for the last 10 years. Although Wu Ming doesn't exactly start off a 'hero' (even though he was performing what many would consider as a heroic deed by his attempts to assassinate Qin Shi Huang), but eventually in the end, Wu Ming (through the incorporation of Can Jian's principles) also becomes a hero of sorts. Unlike Qin Shi Huang, Can Jian forsakes hatred and violence, and unlike Wu Ming, Can Jian also embraces love. When Fei Xue (Flying Snow) reprimands Can Jian for harboring only 'Tian Xia' in his heart, Can Jian retorts with an adamant assertion that within his heart, there is also 'you' - Fei Xue. By sacrificing his relationship with Fei Xue, Can Jian saves the 'Tian Xia,' and by sacrificing his own life, Can Jian salvages his love with Fei Xue. The drought that surrounds them in the White Sequence is symbolically ended by Fei Xue's tears, as their love is restored at the moment of which their lives are ended.
Perhaps as alluded to by his name, Can Jian nevertheless remains the heroic pacifist even though he may have been the most powerful swordsman within the story. Aside from the Green version (which recounts their past youth), in all other versions of the story Can Jian dies under the hands of Fei Xue both physically and symbolically. Even though it is not clear what the course of Can Jian's fate will be in the Blue sequence, yet it can be easily discerned that without his Fei Xue, he will most certainly have 'died' metaphorically. Amongst the four central characters - Qin Shi Huang, Wu Ming, Can Jian and Fei Xue, it is only Can Jian who never kills anybody (excluding the Qin army extras). All motivated by hatred, vengeance and/or self-protection, Wu Ming 'kills' Chang Kong (Spear), Fei Shue 'kills' Ru Yue (Moon), while Qin Shi Huang kills Wu Ming. In the 3 central versions of the story (Red, Blue, White) Can Jian is the one who hesitates to use, or forsakes his sword. The only 'sword' that Can Jian uses in the Red sequence is related on paper as a word whose complete essence Wu Ming is unable to decipher. During the one chance he had of killing, he refrains from the actual act and hence severs his relationship with Fei Xue. Not only does Can Jian willingly sacrifice his life, but more importantly he sacrifices both love and vengeance.
In the final White sequence, Fei Xue demands Can Jian to reveal his sword and to engage in battle with her. Can Jian not desirous to, remarks with a bittersweet expression that during their first encounter, Fei Xue had also commanded him to do the same thing. When Can Jian asked her what he could do to make her believe, she replies that she only wanted him to reveal his sword. It is after the death of Can Jian, through the washing of all past conflicts and misunderstandings with Can Jian's blood and Fei Xue's tears do they finally receive release. As Fei Xue remarks in the brief moment before her suicide - they are finally going home, away from the 'Jiang Hu' (fighter's world), away from all the killing, hatred and vengeance.
In a sequence dominated by white - a colour so often associated with purity, perfection, truth and innocence, the White sequence ironically employs the use of the desert to symbolize drought. Although Can Jian tries to make Fei Xue see the genuine emotions within his heart, Fei Xue's heart can only be governed by vengeance, hatred and bitterness. While Can Jian's heart has been emptied of the sword (and hence vengeance and hatred), he also simultaneously harbours love and Tian Xia. Fei Xue has to similarly empty her heart of all the baggage that comes with the power of wielding the sword. It is only through the abandonment of the violence and hatred within her can Fei Xue allow her heart to be truly dominated by love. The moment that the sword enters Can Jian's heart, Fei Xue is finally jolted into revelation as she repeatedly asks him why he didn't block her attack with the sword. Can Jian can only reply by asking her in return, 'now do you believe?' Although Fei Xue never directly receives an answer, yet her final understanding of Can Jian's heart can perhaps be an indication that the answer is something of which she has always known. Undoubtedly, the Qin Shi Huang as depicted by this film can also be said to embody heroic qualities in certain aspects. Yet whether one truly perceives him as a hero will ultimately depend on their own value system and interpretation. Zhang Yi Mou certainly portrays the more favourable side of Qin Shi Huang - his genius, grandeur, foresight and most importantly, his contribution to the development of China. Qin Shi Huang's deeds exists not only in the historical files and statistics that can be perused over, but they are as the closing shot of the Great Wall of China and the textual excerpt emphasizes, the heroic achievements of a pioneering King. Qin Shi Huang is one to be mythologized into a legend - as the 'shi Huang Di,' the first King to conform China.
Unlike Can Jian who chooses to refrain from violence and accept personal sacrifice as the means of achieving the ideals of 'Tian Xia,' Qin Shi Huang must kill in order to maintain what may or may not be the same ideals of 'Tian Xia.' Despite Qin Shi Huang's hesitation to order Wu Ming's death, it is also implicit within the chant of the Qin army that 'Tian Xia' may not necessarily be constructed through love, but rather through violence and death. Though Qin Shi Huang may have felt remorse over the death of the three heroes (as emphasized through the heroic funeral he grants Wu Ming and the commemoration of his friends), it is through the excuse of 'Tian Xia' that he must kill. The final expression on Qin Shi Huang's face is an ambiguous and conflicted expression of both pain and pleasure.
Qin Shi Huang's alliance with Can Jian through their mutual understanding of each other further highlights the potential of Qin Shi Huang in fulfilling the role of a Hero. Yet whether Qin Shi Huang fits the requirements of a hero is in actuality, an ambiguous issue. Though possessive of heroic qualities, his actions cannot be said to incorporate traditional WuXia's concept of 'Xia' (Hero) that connotes the values of self-sacrifice and morality. While Can Jian is the non-violent hero, Qin Shi Huang can only be seen at the most as the violent hero who is associated with death. In Qin Shi Huang's case, the only way to achieve his goal of 'Tian Xia' must be achieved through violence - and perhaps the movie also implies that sometimes, violence may be the only way. Having encountered Chang Kong, Wu Ming, Fei Xue and Can Jian, their stories will no doubt hold a place in Qin Shi Huang's consciousness. The two polarities of violence and sacrifice/love are both presented to Qin Shi Huang, yet whether the results reflect that of a true balance struck between the two elements remains something that is left to speculation and interpretation. Perhaps in the end, as implied by the ambiguous expression on his face during the final shot, Qin Shi Huang can only be called a competent ruler and an important contributor. The name and legend of Qin Shi Huang may not necessarily be recorded within the people's books as well as the people's hearts as being that of a Hero.
The Authorial Signature of the Mise-en-Sc'ne
Those familiar with Zhang Yi Mou's authorship should recognize the distinctive authorial signature infused within the very mise-en-sc'ne of Hero. Through the use of water, blood red colours, pigments, drapes/fabric, aerial shots and box-like architectures, Zhang Yi Mou very concretely establishes his own influence of the auteur within a production that boasts of many talents.
The Gates of Hell
The death imagery of the Black/Grey sequence is associated with the imperial fortress occupied by Qin Shi Huang and of which Wu Ming gains permission to enter after having supposedly proven his loyalty. The very architectural structure of the fortress is dominated by rectangular coffin-like shapes, very much like the sequence involving Wu Ming's fight with Chang Kong that is similarly dominated by this boxlike structure. The camera continually emphasizes this architectural structure by shooting from outside doorways and employing aerial shots to draw attention to the boxlike doorframes and alleyways. The way characters are pitted against these structures draws attention to its oppressive and entrapping architecture, where characters are diminished and ensnared by the cold, dark and hard iron/cement. The movie begins with Wu Ming's entrance into the fortress of Death as accentuated by the set of demons etched on the big iron doors. The movie is bracketed by this kind of structure as it ends with Wu Ming's exit from the fortress, but this time, he is being carried out in his coffin. Emphasized in this segment is the bird's eye shot of the soldiers carrying Wu Ming's coffin through a rectangular coffin-shaped outer corridor. Notice also the shape the soldiers take and the use of the red in this very scene. Such a combination of boxlike architecture shot through aerial shots and infused with the thematic colour of red will no doubt bring to mind Zhang's other two films - Raise the Red Lantern and Ju Dou.
The Heart of Darkness - Hallways and the Unconscious
The architecture of the Red sequence similarly emphasizes the same structures of entrapment and death. The danger of this physical entrapment is exemplified by the Qin army's ambush of the Zhao school. Trapped within this institution of knowledge, the students can only be slaughtered helplessly while thousands of arrows pierces through the walls to literally pin down the inhabitants. However, perhaps the most important architectural structure that is emphasized within the Red sequence should be the use of hallways that functions to represent on a similar level, another form of entrapment. Shots of the various characters' interweaving movements throughout the labyrinth of the hallways are infused with quick and disorienting cuts, where the characters walk back and forth and yet never really end up in anywhere. It is in the hallway that Can Jian receives the unexpected stab in his back - his death in the hands of Fei Xue is a result supposedly arising from Fei Xue's infidelity but of which is further provoked by Can Jian's betrayal. The various hurdles of envy, misunderstanding, bitterness and vengeance that are separating the two lovers are visually represented through the partition of the wall that separates them during the murder scene. Tracking shots follows the movements of characters (and in particular Fei Xue) invoking images from both Wong Kar Wai's Ashes of Times as well as Chen Kaige's Temptress Moon, both constructed under the artistic brush of Christopher Doyle. The characters within the Red sequence are portrayed as being the darkest and most depressed of all the versions. Such themes of emotional rejection and turmoil bears much similarity to Wong Kar Wai's style, in particular his bleakest work - Ashes of Times. The dark lighting, interweaving labyrinths, throbbing lights, and the colour of blood red dominates the mise-en-sc'ne of this sequence, bringing to mind the sexual metaphors usually associated with horror films. As this sequence explores the dark psychological terrors of jealousy, hatred, and violence hidden in the crevices of the unconscious, it becomes clear that the central characters are not physically entrapped within the actual structure (as it can be seen that they have the ability to leave the school). Rather, it is the emotional and mental traps of jealousy and sexual frustrations that they cannot escape from, leading to their isolation and separation from each other, where the final result is death.
Interestingly, there is one hallway that continually returns in the other sequences to function as a form of motif. In the Red sequence, Fei Xue meets Wu Ming in the hallway as they exchange words before simultaneously bursting outside to intercept thousands of arrows shot by the Qin soldiers. In this scene, they each stand at opposite ends of the hallway, a big distance and gap between them. Following this sequence is the Blue theme, where Fei Xue and Can Jian meet each other in the middle of this hallway, lightly brushing aside the bamboo blinds between them. Contrasted to this is a brief shot of Fei Xue's departure from Can Jian in this same hallway, after Can Jian's refusal to assassinate Qin Shi Huang in the Green sequence.
While the interiors of manmade structures are depicted rather negatively, yet the outdoors and natural settings are not necessarily privileged. We have repeated shots of the desert that appears throughout the movie. In the beginning of the Red sequence, we see Wu Ming arrive at the school by traveling through this desert. The emotional stagnation found within the hearts of the protagonists exists not only on the level of the internal, but it also lies in the periphery of where there seems little chance of escape. Even the scenes involving the fall leaves within this same Red sequence is a representation of the season's end, the last moments of golden glory before the death of the pale winter arrives. As symbolized by the fall of the autumn leaves, there is a similar season of passage within the hearts of the characters where youth, idealism, passion and jealousy are all coming to its end, entering into its last dying moments. The fight sequence between Ru Yue and Fei Xue ends with a wave of blood red that bleeds over the screen, enveloping both characters in the residues of burnt out passion and rage. This scene sums up the trajectory of emotions set into motion by Wu Ming's interference in the lives of a trio frustrated by sexual tensions. Chaos is unleashed among disorder, bringing about bursts of envy, spite and violence that erupts and overtakes the characters, only to culminate into death and loss.
The desert scenes would return in full force during the White sequence. In fact, the drought within this sequence is more overt and forceful than that which is found in the Red sequence. Ironically, though the shots of the desert in the White sequence emphasizes a vast landscape of beauty and freedom, yet very few sources of water can be found - even the blood that we expect from the wounds suffered by the characters are not visible. Whereas in the Red sequence, though there were traces of water to be found - in blood red ink, tears, Fei Xue's drink, Fei Xue's alias 'Liu Shui' (flowing waters), yet the enclosure and entrapment of the characters contrasts with the vast space of freedom and possibilities found in the White sequence. However, the characters in the White sequence are still isolated and separated from each other both emotionally and physically, as seen in how Fei Xue and Can Jian stand on opposite sides of mountains with a vast space between them as they wait for news of the assassination. The drought and stagnation in Fei Xue and Can Jian's relationship in the White sequence is only broken by Can Jian's blood (of which we don't actually see) that triggers Fei Xue's tears which finally allows for the reconciliation to ensue between the characters.
Interestingly, the movie departs from the two segments of death and drought by intersecting them with two sequences that are dominated by life. After the Red sequence comes that of Blue, where the movie takes on the point of view of the Shi Huang Di himself. It can be seen that though Qin Shi Huang's vision of the story is not necessarily the most accurate or 'truthful' - yet it is nevertheless the most imaginative and Romantic. Blue has been discussed a metaphor representative of the Imagination. Water (a symbol of life, rejuvenation, but also duality) is abundant within this sequence - where the stillness of the serene lakes reflecting the blue skies like mirrors becomes disturbed by the violence of the warriors' 'Xia Qi' (death aura). Water is also used abundantly in the fight scene involving Chang Kong and Wu Ming during the Black/Grey sequence. The melodic sounds of raindrops falling are intermingled with the music of the zither, as both forms of music similarly undergoes disruption under the fighters' duel.
The water motif as used in the Black/Grey sequence comes down in drops, intermingling with the fighters' bodies and weapons. In the Red sequence, liquids are fairly sparse and intensified with the addition of red pigments, invoking the motif of blood. In the Blue sequence, water is a part of the serene nature disturbed by man. The White sequence is characterized by drought, but the Green sequence that intercuts it is filled with fluidity and abundance. Green as representing youth, nature and life is a sequence concerned with mostly Can Jian and Fei Xue's youth, chronicling their falling in love with each other and Can Jian's enlightenment through his reversion back to the basics of the sword's essence. As the first shot of Can Jian's flashback reveals, Can Jian and Fei Xue were standing by a beautiful waterfall. This image brings to mind the alias which Fei Xue and Can Jian takes up in the Red sequence - 'Gao Shan, Liu Shui' (soaring mountains, flowing waters) representing the promise of a paradise full of life and beauty that can be realized through their love for each other. The fluidity of waterfalls is also represented on another level by the flowing drapery found in the mise-en-sc'ne of Can Jian and Qin Shi Huang's battle amongst each other during the Green sequence. As they slash through the drapery, it is ironically Can Jian's refusal to bring down his sword that produces the severing blow in his relationship with Fei Xue, and hence bringing the drought into their relationship.
Circle of Life
Unlike the actual architecture that comprises the Imperial Fortress, the mise-en-sc'ne of Qin Shi Huang's Romantic vision is dominated by circles - another motif for unity, perfection and life. The very first shot in the Blue sequence of the four characters gathered in the library emphasizes the circular motif in every element of the mise-en-sc'ne. The scene is imbued with circular shapes - the circular stage that elevates from the ground, the cup which Wu Ming tosses into the air, the shape in which the book shelves are arranged, the books made of bamboo sticks that are rolled up into circular rolls, the pillars, and the movement of Wu Ming around the room. Even in the scenes where the Qin army and Wu Ming surrounds Fei Xue, the circular shape that the army takes is emphasized with an aerial shot that captures the full structure of the scene. Although the library setting will be repeated in the White sequence, yet there are already subtle differences within the very same elements shown in the Blue sequence - the pillars are wrapped with square like structures near the bottom, the books shelves are no longer arranged in such an overtly circular shape, the books themselves are not centered on, Wu Ming does not circle the room and the jade cup is not within the scene as well. The mise-en-sc'ne of the White sequences loses some of the perfect unity that characterizes the Blue sequence. The same setting in the Red sequence is barely recognizable, and its structures are barely focused upon.
Although much is said about the various colour themes in this film, yet many do not similarly acknowledge the distinct construction of the mise-en-sc'ne belonging to the various colour schemes. From the box-like enclosure of the Black/Grey sequences, we move into the disjunctive and disunited labyrinth of the Red sequence that contrasts with the perfect unity of the Blue sequence, the fluidity of the Green sequence and the vast expansions of drought and negative space of the desert scenes in the White sequence. The final moments of the film brings the viewers back full circle into the coffin-like confinement of the Black/Grey sequence which begins the film. Yet interestingly, the final shot of the movie is that of the Great Wall of China which though is a wall meant to exclude and confine, yet nevertheless expands into the distance so far, its end is that of which cannot be perceivable by the naked eye.
The Adoption of a Perspective
Zhang Yi Mou openly credits the genius of Akira Kurosawa's innovating and influential masterpiece Rashomon as a key inspiration for Hero. Those familiar with Rashomon would know that far from being a film centred solely on the discovery of the 'true' version of a story, it is rather a film that explores through the use of ingenious cinematic techniques the issue of perspective. Hero is similarly centred on this same exploration of perspectives. The essence of the word Sword written by Can Jian lies as the film stresses, in one's interpretation. Wu Ming's inability to fully comprehend the essence of the word seems to implicate that unlike Can Jian and Qin Shi Huang, he lacks their 'Xiong Jin', which can be loosely translated as the breadth of one's heart. The narrative in the Red sequence is narrated through Wu Ming's POV (point of view), and it is one fuelled by sexual desires, envy and hatred that represents Wu Ming's own emotions of vengeance, hatred and loss. He is called Wu Ming ('one without a name') not because he has abandoned all notions of possession and desires. He remains Wu Ming for only one purpose - that of achieving revenge. As he says in the very beginning of the film, 'when one is without a name, one can thus practice martial arts without extraneous distractions.' He has abandoned his name and replaced in its place the hunger for revenge and a sword skill constructed out of the hatred in his heart.
Wu Ming's view of the lovers Can Jian and Fei Xue is one of admiration but also envy. The hatred which tears Can Jian and Fei Xue apart in the Red sequence stems from the jealousy within their hearts - as Can Jian bitterly cries out in the scene where he reproaches Fei Xue after she catches him with Ru Yue, 'I know you saw it! I purposely let you see it. You have absolutely no place in my heart!' The passion with which these words were spoken clearly emphasizes that contrary to what he says, in Can Jian's heart, there indeed exists Fei Xue. Similarly, Wu Ming's feelings towards the lovers is also one of pity - as Can Jian says after he is stabbed by Fei Xue in the Red sequence, 'You and I are both very stupid.' It seems that to Wu Ming, the two lovers are indeed 'very stupid.' However, exactly why Wu Ming would view them as stupid is perhaps open up to interpretations - it could be because he feels their squabbles to be 'stupid' since they obviously care for each other, or it could be because he thinks that their entrapment through romantic squabbles to be an extremely insignificant thing.
Little has been said about Zhang Zi Yi's character Ru Yue who has been deemed by many people as a redundant and insignificant character. However, an interesting thing to notice is that Ru Yue is actually quite a versatile character. Though small her role may be, yet in every sequence, the different importance and themes associated with her are stressed. Of particular interest are her interactions with Wu Ming. In the Red sequence, Ru Yue mainly acts a plot device - yet perhaps it can also be deduced that her flirtatious manner and sexual yearning for Can Jian is also a displaced sexual fantasy of Wu Ming's. His various interactions with Ru Yue in the various sequences may indeed function to represent Wu Ming's sexual yearning or desire for a relationship similar to that of Can Jian and Fei Xue. Notice how in the Red sequence, as Can Jian rips open Ru Yue's clothes, the camera takes upon the POV of the man who is descending upon Ru Yue to consummate the sexual act. We are not privileged of a similar shot from Ru Yue's POV (which would show Can Jian's face), the actual face (and arguably identity) of the person engaging in this sexual act is therefore concealed and interchangeable. This strange adoption of the POV shot seems to allow room for displacement - especially if we keep in mind that it is from Wu Ming's perspective from which we are viewing the story from. Therefore, can it be said that in Wu Ming's contrived fantasy, it is similarly Wu Ming's sexual desire that propels him to adopt the POV of the active participant in this sexual act? Displaced desires runs rampant throughout this scene, and amongst the frustrations, anger and violence, nobody can be said to have achieved any form of happiness.
In the other two sequences of which Ru Yue appears in, she often interacts with Wu Ming. The departure scene between them that occurs before Wu Ming heads off for the assassination is repeated twice. Ru Yue plays a slightly different character in these two segments, emphasizing a slightly different virtue that affects Wu Ming. In the Blue sequence (Qin Shi Huang's vision), Ru Yue is a loyal servant who brings Can Jian's sword to Wu Ming. As she bestows the sword to Wu Ming, she reminds him of the sword's importance and the goal of the mission - to assassinate the Qin King. Ru Yue again appears in the White sequence as a loyal and patriotic servant, yet what she asks of Wu Ming during their departure is a completely different thing. Ru Yue talks of the how Can Jian has taught her not only martial arts, but also the philosophies of life. She only knows that whatever her master says and does must be right, and thus she reminds Wu Ming not of the mission, but of the words that Can Jian leaves for him, imploring him to heed her master's words. Her final words to him are 'bai tuo,' which can be very clumsily translated as 'please, we are counting on you'.
If Wu Ming's heart is filled with hatred and vengeance, Fei Xue's heart can also be said to similarly harbour this thirst for revenge. Yet in Fei Xue's heart, there is also Can Jian who affords her the possibility of receiving redemption. Wu Ming's redemption lies in his abandonment of hatred and vengeance, whereas Fei Xue takes the extra step to re-embrace love. Can Jian's heart as emphasized co-exists both Fei Xue and Tian Xia, Qin Shi Huang's heart also exists Tian Xia, or at the least, his heart speaks of the ambition to conquer Tian Xia. However, unlike Can Jian and Fei Xue, the possibility of redemption through true love does not exist in Qin Shi Huang's life. There exists only fear and loneliness to co-exist with his Tian Xia. Hence the Blue sequence as seen through the eyes of Qin Shi Huang is filled with such a Romantically nostalgic vision of the Swordsman's life. The love between Fei Xue and Can Jian is highly idealized, and the various relationships of patriotic understanding and heroic bond between the assassins bespeaks of honour, bravery and respect (rather than the lies and deceit which surrounds Qin Shi Huang's life). The confinement and highly controlled settings of Qin Shi Huang's surroundings (where every step that approaches him must be calculated and controlled) is contrasted with the mise-en-sc'ne of the Blue sequence - the shots of serene lakes, vast forest and the freedom of which the mountains promise. Hence, Qin Shi Huang's feelings toward the life of a swordsman is not only one of admiration, but also jealousy. Interestingly, the colour Red does pervade this sequence, and its presence is blatantly visible - as emphasized by the red fall leaves which lines the upper corners of the frames during the aerial shot of the lake in which the two swordsman fight in. Evident here is not only the explicit use of red, but also the use of fall leaves. Perhaps it can be said that Qin Shi Huang's relationship and understanding with the various characters can only exist on that higher dimension of mutual understanding that occurs and exists purely at the level of the mind. But in physical actuality, extraneous factors will pose many constraints. In the end, the King will always be the King.