Hero Scene Analysis

What is the purpose of the scene that you have chosen and how have language and filmic techniques been employed to achieve that purpose?


The film “Hero” by Chinese director ZhangYi Mou is a martial arts film that shows different perspectives and versions of the story and characters as they progress towards their goal. After the death of Flying Snow, Broken Sword and Nameless fight on a lake in a serious and heavy atmosphere. In the scene from 1:00:00-1:03:00, Zhang Yimou applies angles, setting, and sound to better show the mental state of Broken sword as well as to honor the death of Flying Snow.

Close up or far away shots of the characters or objects are significant as they emphasize the facial expression of the characters, bring out their emotions, as well as the key items. Broken Sword’s feeling towards Flying Snow can be seen from the zoomed in shot of him wiping the water off her face. As Nameless walks away at the end, the different shots show us the distance between them though only having zoomed in shots of their face as they salute to each other. The peaceful ending shows Nameless’ sympathy for the death of Flying Snow resulting in respect for each other in the end.

The characters are encompassed by mountains and trees while the lake is below their feet. With nature being the environment they’re in and with the combination of the clear water and the blue shade of the setting, the main emotion communicated through was grief and a calmness. The surface of the water has no ripples, bringing this sense of serenity and tranquility. This along with the somewhat hopeless expression of Broken Sword gives the audience an understanding of his mental state at that moment, which is sadness. Water can also be a symbolism for power. As water has no definite shape, the swords that pierce through the water do not damage. Like Broken Swords mind during that time, nothing can harm the true love he has for Flying Snow.

Though there is no dialogue, non-diegetic sounds are used to compliment and reduce the intensity of the fighting scene. To set the whole mood of this scene, no dialogue was used. Instead, Zhang Yimou magnified the sounds of the water and swords. The crisp and fresh sound of water does not create an intense atmosphere which would be conflicted with the mood of the characters. Along with the slow effects of Broken Swords and Nameless running on the surface of the water, the sound that was produced was smooth, adding to the calm flow of this scene.

The combination of non-diegetic sounds, setting, and different angle of shots are used to deliver the emotions of the characters as well as give context about what’s happening and foreshadow later events by amplifying the small details that are not transparent. By using these factors for this specific scene, Zhang Yimou can clearly communicate Broken Swords emotion as well as carrying the story forward by ending with the honoring of Flying Snow.


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