Hero_poster.jpg

Hero (2002)

Director: Zhang Yimou

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Goal: Evaluating Author's Argument

Reviewing Literary Analysis Terms

Theme
-The submission of self for a higher cause or the group.

Symbols
- Arrows vs. Swords = the individual vs. the consolidated group
- The written character for "sword" = no clarity/effectiveness without unification

Motifs
- The repeated phrase of storm chanted by Qin's troops
- The force of things working together and the challenge of the individual on the group
      • leaves and wind made into weapon by Snow
      • water drops vs. lake Broken Sword/Nameless
      • bamboo sticks destroyed by Nameless' sword

Plot Introduction: In ancient China during the warring states period, a nameless prefect of a small jurisdiction arrives at the Qin state capital city to meet the King of Qin. The king has just survived an attempt on his life by three feared assassins (Long Sky, Flying Snow and Broken Sword), and has taken precautions to protect himself, including forbidding visitors to approach closer than 100 paces to his throne. Nameless claims that he had slain the three assassins and he displays their weapons before the king, who is impressed and allows Nameless to tell him his story. (Adapted from Wikipedia)

Characters:
Nameless – Jet Li
Broken Sword – Tony Leung
Flying Snow – Maggie Cheung
King of Quin – Chen Daoming
Sky – Donnie Yen
Moon – Zhang Ziyi

Translation of "Tianxia" - From Wikipedia

There has been some criticism of the film for its American-release translation of one of the central ideas in the film: //天下// //(Tiānxià)//. It literally means "all (everything and everyone) under heaven", and is a phrase to mean "the World". In fact, for its release in Belgium, some two years before the U.S. release, the subtitled translation was indeed "all under heaven". However, the version shown in American cinemas was localized as the two-word phrase "Our land" instead, which seems to denote just the nation of China rather than the whole world. Whether Zhang Yimou intended the film to also have meaning with regard to the world and world unity was at that time difficult to say. Zhang Yimou was asked about the change at a screening in Massachusetts and said it was a problem of translation: "If you ask me if 'Our land' is a good translation, I can't tell you. All translations are handicapped. Every word has different meanings in different cultures," he said. However, in Cause: The Birth of Hero – a documentary on the making of Hero – Zhang mentions that he hopes the film will have some contemporary relevance, and that, in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks (which took place just before the movie was filmed) the themes of universal brotherhood and "peace under heaven" may indeed be interpreted more globally, and taken to refer to peace in "the world." The phrase was later changed in television-release versions of the film.