"I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious" - Albert Einstein

Category: SL ENglish Lang & Lit 2

“Hero” scene analysis

Zhang Yimou’s 2002 film ‘Hero’ is a fictional narrative set in the warring states period, where China was divided into different kingdoms. The main protagonist, nameless, and his three comrades – Broken Sword, Flying Snow, and Sky – aims to assassinate the Qi Emperor, who wishes to unite all the kingdoms through conquest. In a short scene from 59:00 – 1:02:35, Nameless duels with Broken Sword to commemorate Flying Snow, who sacrificed herself for the assassination of the Qi Emperor. In this scene, the movie uses Diegetic and non-diegetic sounds, pathos, and camera angles to exemplify the theme of serenity, showing that the warriors are peaceful despite their dire situation.

The movie first uses diegetic and non-diegetic sounds to convey the emotions of the warriors, including sadness and tranquility. Unlike other martial arts fight scenes, the non-diegetic music is very subtle and does not build intensity in any way. This reflects the peaceful emotional state of the warriors, illustrating that the duel is not a fight to the death but instead to commemorate Flying snow’s sacrifice. By employing subtle non-diegetic music into the scene, the movie induces a peaceful tone, illustrating that the warriors feel serene despite their sadness for the death of their comrade. Additionally, the diegetic sounds in this scene are clear and defined with an echoing effect, with no sound overlapping. This illustrates the heightened awareness of the fighter’s surroundings as the echoing effect of the diegetic sounds suggests that the warriors are aware of each sound, therefore portraying their peaceful and focused state of mind despite being under the influence of intense sadness.

In addition, the movie uses pathos to emotionally touch the audience by emphasizing the sadness of the warriors. The close shot of Broken Sword wiping away Flying Snow’s tears and the intensified music illustrate the sadness of Broken Sword. Although the music and close shot create a sad tone, the facial expression of Broken Sword remains still, showing that he embraces the sadness he feels for the death of Flying Snow. This further portrays the warrior’s courage, as Broken Sword continues to persevere under intense sadness, making the audience sympathize with his situation.

Finally, the movie utilizes several visual techniques such as contrast and camera shots to emphasize WuMing’s peaceful state of mind, therefore portraying him as a heroic figure. When the duel between Nameless and Broken Sword ends, the movie employs a long shot of Nameless walking towards a snowy mountain range. By displaying Nameless walking in an expansive external environment alone, the shot frames Nameless in a way where he is dwarfed by the surrounding environment, portraying him as insignificant. Despite this, he walks firmly towards the snowy mountains, a symbol of danger from the elements since the color white is often associated with death in Chinese culture. This displays Nameless’ unwavering courage, as he peacefully accepts and embraces his dire situation despite the presence of danger, therefore demonstrating the significance of serenity amidst chaos.



Propaganda Design Rationale

Propaganda Design:

How are language and image being used in your selected poster and to what effect?

Over the past year, the Coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the deaths of millions while severely damaging the economy. Thus, it is more important than ever to wear a mask to reduce the spread of Covid-19. My propaganda aims to persuade people to wear masks and to inform them of their significance. In addition, my target audience is the general public, especially those who are skeptical about the importance of masks.

Firstly, the background of the propaganda consists only of different shades of blue. Notice that the background contains no additional details, as I intended to utilize white space to attract the audience’s attention to the important content of the propaganda. In addition, the color blue symbolizes trust, unity, and integrity, further contributing to the idea that wearing a mask is a collaborative effort from communities to combat the spread of Covid-19.

Furthermore, my poster’s use of the propaganda technique ‘glittering generality’ strengthens the poster’s appeal to ethos, effectively persuading the reader to wear a mask. The slogan ‘wear a mask, save a life’ informs the audience about the importance of masks clearly and concisely. As our current society highly values human lives, the propaganda appeals to the audience’s moral integrity and values, therefore adding to the poster’s ethos appeal. In addition, the words ‘mask’ and ‘life’ are highlighted in yellow. Since the color yellow has connotations of hope, it further encourages the audience to wear a mask. By highlighting words in a different color, the propaganda also attracts the audience’s visual attention to its slogan, therefore increasing its effectiveness.

Finally, the propaganda also includes an image of myself wearing a mask. By wearing a mask, I build credibility to the audience, therefore appealing to ethos while encouraging the audience to wear a mask. Furthermore, my eye direction points toward the upper right direction. This signifies that I am looking towards the ‘future’ and ‘goals,’ illustrating my determination to reduce the spread of Covid-19. This further encourages the audience to work towards limiting the spread of Covid-19, therefore achieving the propaganda’s purpose of persuading people to wear masks.


Chinese propaganda presentation reflection

What are some of the key elements of propaganda that they seem to share in common?

  • The Chinese propaganda analyzed in class seem to have very similar purposes, whether portraying Mao as a powerful and compassionate leader of convincing the common people to participate in the cultural revolution and embrace communist thought
  • Many posters utilized similar propaganda and linguistic techniques such as color, symbolism, bandwagon, etc to further portray the communist party as a fulfilling, united, and powerful community.

How are Chinese people being represented in them?

  • Chinese members are portrayed as a unified community. Most of the propaganda analyzed in class portrayed the communist party and common peasants as unified in their ideology and goals where everyone is working towards one goal

How are members of other groups being represented?

  • Members of other groups, especially those who do not support communist ideology, are portrayed as selfish and evil. For example, one of the propaganda analyzed in class represented the United States as sick and evil with the use of colors and facial expressions.
  • Foreigners and those who oppose communist ideology are presented as enemies of the common people

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