Films can be entertaining, instructive or visually impressive. The film “Shadow” by the Chinese director Zhang Yimou fulfills all of these criteria. Raise the curtain on a milestone in its genre!
With films such as “Hero” and “House of Flying Daggers”, the Chinese director Zhang Yimou became known to a larger fan base in this country almost 20 years ago. The grace of the images, the beauty of the landscape and the sophistication of the battle choreographies of his films are formative for many cineastes and lovers of the martial arts and wuxiá genre.
The characteristic features of the Wuxiá film, which is very popular in China, are usually swordsmen, and occasionally large battles, which are often set in a pseudo-historical context. It is not uncommon for the protagonists to have supernatural powers, which in the context of the stories – unlike in the Marvel Comics films, for example – do not represent superpowers. The Wuxiá film always has something magical about it, while the martial arts film is more worldly, with prominent representatives including the “Bruce Lee” or “Jackie Chan” films.
Directors like Zhang Yimou have almost perfected the mix of the martial arts and wuxiá genre in the past few decades. The force of the narrative power – mixed with the optical opulence, the almost dance-like fights and the elegantly worked out characters, often reaches an all-encompassing level of art that is rarely seen in Western films.
Every Friday, Ronny Rüsch presents “Oscars & Raspberries”, the ntv podcast about streaming. In addition to the extensive review of “Shadow” this week: the HBO series “Mare of Easttown” with Kate Winslet, the series “Snowfall” with the participation of John Singleton and an explanation of why the new X-Men film “The New Mutants’ botch is.
“Oscars & Raspberries” – Informative. Entertaining. Compact. In the ntv app, Audio Now, Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
Of course, a cinema artist like Zhang Yimou also showed in 2016 with “The Great Wall”, in which Matt Damon played the leading role, that not everything that the director, who was born in Xi’an in 1950, touches turns into silver screen. But with the film “Shadow”, which has now been released by Sky, a cinematic interpretation of the yin-yang symbol, Yimou returns to the splendor of his earlier works without copying himself.
A symphony in black and white
The optical design and the reduction in colors in “Shadow”, which contrast Yimou’s older productions, are disturbing and equally impressive in their radicalism. The viewer almost has the feeling of seeing a black and white film. The eye is literally drawn into a battle of lights and patterns that constantly flow into one another, only to then repel each other again. The plot and protagonists also follow this rhythm. Every person, every building, every curtain, even the sky and the landscape form a counterpart, a mirror image, a shadow.
Zhang Yimou is and remains an exceptional talent in his field and with “Shadow” he presents the perfect symbiosis of film and yin-yang symbols. A feast for the eyes with a variety of nuances that invites you to view it several times.
In addition to the extensive review of “Shadow”, Ronny Rüsch and Axel Max also discuss the HBO series “Mare of Easttown” with Kate Winslet, the series “Snowfall” by John Singleton and why in the new podcast episode of “Oscars & Raspberries” the new X-Men movie “The New Mutants” is botch.
“Oscars & Raspberries” – the ntv podcast – where everything revolves around streaming services such as Netflix, TVNOW, Amazon Prime & Co. every Friday.