Yimou unleashes Shakespearean martial arts epic in
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[September 07, 2018] By
VENICE, Italy (Reuters) -
Zhang Yimou, the Chinese director of "The Great Wall",
"The House of Flying Daggers" and "Raise the Red
Lantern", brought a Shakespearean martial arts epic to
Venice on Thursday where he was awarded for his
contributions to filmmaking.
Set in a royal court of ancient China, "Ying" ("Shadow") is the
story of a man who acts as a body double for the king's military
commander as he must choose whether to keep the peace or declare
war on a rival city state.
"In Chinese culture there must have been numerous cases where
body doubles were used but their stories have not been told,
certainly not in Chinese cinema, so I have wanted to do that for
many years," said Zhang, who also directed the opening and
closing ceremonies for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Actor Zheng Kai, who plays the king in "Shadow" as a man at the
center of court intrigue in the mould of Macbeth or King Lear,
described the role as a step up from his appearance in "The
Great Wall", Zhang's 2016 film that starred Matt Damon.
"The last time I was the man standing beside the king ... and
this time I am the king. So it's kind of a promotion for me,"
Director Zhang has worked female stars such as Gong Li and Zhang
Ziyi, and in "Shadow", he cast Guan Xiaotong as the king's
sister who refuses to be treated as his property.
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"Guan's character represents a type of a role of a younger woman, a
young woman of today (a) character who calls the shots. Her fate is
not decided by the games played by men, she follows her own
interests to assert her dignity," Zhang said in an interview.
Zhang, who has won two Golden Lions at the festival in the past, was
given the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker Award whose
previous recipients include Al Pacino, Spike Lee and Sylvester
"Every time I come back to Venice it's like coming home," he said in
his acceptance speech.
"Shadow" screened out-of-competition at the Venice Film Festival
which ends on Saturday.
(Writing by Hanna Rantala and Robin Pomeroy; Editing by Richard
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