Shadow <影> is Zhang Yimou’s (张艺谋) first wuxia-centered film in over a decade, and it’s his boldest work yet. Starring Deng Chao (邓超), Sun Li (孙俪), Zheng Kai (鄭愷), Wang Qianyuan (王千源), Hu Jun (胡軍), Wang Jingchun (王景春), Guan Xiaotong (关晓彤), and Leo Wu (吴磊), the film is set during the Three Kingdoms period of Ancient China, and centers on the story of an exiled king and his body double. His body double, also known as his “shadow”, is a much younger and stronger version of the king, and in the onset of war, the body double must hold his ground and fight for his land.
Unlike the vibrant colors seen in Zhang’s previous works like Hero <英雄> and House of Flying Daggers <十面埋伏>, Shadow is inspired by the black ink brush art in Chinese paintings. The cinematography and color palette in the film is dark yet neutral, emulating that of Chinese watercolor.
Deng Chao plays both the king and the body double—for his roles, Deng Chao gained and lost over 40 pounds to play that of the elderly king and his younger shadow. The shadow and the princess (portrayed by Guang Xiaotong) both represent the film’s rebellious spirit, while the body double’s love interest Xiao Ai (portrayed by Sun Li) represents the quiet strength that women must have in a patriarchal battlefield.
Hu Jun plays General Yang, Leo Wu plays his son, and Zheng Kai plays the King of Pei.
Shadow will be released in China on September 30, 2018. It premiered at the Venice International Film Festival on September 8, 2018.
“Shadow” Teaser Trailer
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.