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Director: Zhang Yimou

Screenwriter: Li Wei, Zhang Yimou

Producer: Ellen Eliasoph, Zhang Zhao, Pang Liwei, Liu Jun, Wang Xiaozhu

Editor: Zhou Xiaolin

Cast: Deng Chao, Sun Li, Zheng Kai, Wang Qianyuan, Wang Jingchun, Hu Jun, Guan Xiaotong, Leo Wu

Cinamatographer: Zhao Xiaoding





Wisconsin Premiere • narrative • China • 2018 • DCP • Mandarin with English subtitles • 115 MIN

section: New International Cinema

This magnificent combination of balletic action and palace intrigue has been widely celebrated as a return to form for director Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of Flying Daggers). In ancient Pei, a gravely injured military commander attempts to take control of the kingdom via a secret weapon—a perfect lookalike, who serves as the commander's imposter on the battlefield. Through this body double, the commander maneuvers Pei's army towards an unforgettable battle royale at the walled city of Jing. Shadow easily matches Zhang's previous action spectacles for rhapsodic beauty, but where those films reveled in florid colors, here the veteran director boldly introduces a fantastic new look. Drawing on the monochromatic color scheme of traditional Chinese ink-wash painting, Shadow's sets and costumes are executed entirely in rich slate grays and velvet blacks. The film's spellbinding not-quite black-and-white visuals only serves to emphasize the impact of the crimson red that flows in the climax. "Breathtakingly beautiful… matches Zhang's best work for the sheer voracious elegance of the images and possibly surpasses much of it for inventiveness" (Variety). "Just about everything one could want from a Zhang Yimou film. Beautiful to look at, with amazing stuntwork, complicated characters, and a story that constantly twists and turns" (Birth.Movies.Death.). (MK)

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