Guest Author - Taisha Turner
Hero, Jet Li’s 2004 film, takes place before the unification of China more than two thousand years ago. At the time, China consisted of several warring districts. The film deals with ideas and the sacrifices made for the unification.
‘Nameless’, the protagonist, tells his story to the emperor over a cup of tea. Flashbacks bring the story alive to both the emperor and viewer. The imagery and cinematography is a wonder. The individual martial art scenes are great, but the warriors especially the archers are mind boggling. The archers work as a fierce unit and are as deadly as a plague of locusts on a corn field.
The four arts of ancient China are not overshadowed by the martial arts. The four arts of China are thousands of years old. They represent the learning and discipline of the scholar. The four ancient arts are music, the game of go, calligraphy and painting.
The four arts are richly portrayed in Hero. An old, blind man plucks an ancient Chinese melody on the guqin, a string instrument, similar to the seven-stringed zither. There is a courtyard game of go played in the rain. Go, a game of Chinese chess, consists of black and white round stones strategically placed on a grid. ‘Nameless’ studies with a calligraphy master. The banner represents painting.
Hero is a joy to the eyes and ears. Tang Dun’s soundtrack is haunting and lovely. Itzhak Perlman, the great violinist, has a solo on the soundtrack..
The worthiness of the characters’ ideas and sacrifices are revealed when the emperor’s future works are exposed. The emperor will play a large role not only in China’s history but in world history.
The Southeast Asia Travel editor recommends the film, Hero. The film is in Chinese with subtitles.
Hero at Amazon.com
The film is an interesting look on the unification of China. There always people behind the scenes who never get their dues. Are these ones? Watch the film and give your view.
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