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This land doesn't know a real hero. Yet. 

Year: 2004 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: It is expected that this film is fully subtitled. 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Hero

From director Zhang Yimou (House of Flying Daggers) comes a story of ancient China, divided into seven warring kingdoms, all fighting for supremacy. Most determined to dominate China is the Emperor of Qin, a man who believes any amount of bloodshed is worth a united country under his command. He is a target for many but there are none he fears more than the assassins Sky, Broken Sword and Flying Snow. Promising enormous wealth to whoever can defeat them, the Emperor welcomes Nameless (Li) into his palace who has the weapons of the assassins and the story of how he killed them. However, not all is as it seems and as Nameless recounts his incredible fights, we find out who he really is, how his actions will affect the future of China and what it means to be a real hero.

Words cannot describe how amazing this film is. Released in China in 2002, it was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2003 Oscars, but it wasn't until martial art-loving Quentin Tarantino put a 'presents' label on it that it received a Western release.  There are obvious comparisons with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and as good as that film was, this is so much better. The cinematography is more striking than
any film I can remember seeing with its breathtaking succession of colours and landscapes. Zhang's attention to detail is unbelievably sharp with everything on screen adding to the overall effect of the film. It's a historical epic and an enormously entertaining action film, where equal importance is placed on the huge battle scenes and perfectly choreographed fight sequences, as on the simple imagery of a raindrop or wind rustling through leaves, but Hero is also an intimate romance. The whole cast perform perfectly, portraying characters developed in such a way it's difficult to know who to root for since they are all living in such turbulent times and we come to know them all, including the minor characters intimately.

This is an absolute must-see.

Hannah Upton

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Screenings of this film:

2004/2005 Spring Term (35mm)
2004/2005 Spring Term (35mm)