Director Zhang Yimou receives and holds the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker prize awarded to him ahead of the world premiere of Shadow during 75th Venice International Film Festival in Venice, Italy, Sept 6, 2018. (Photo provided to China.org.cn by Le Chuang Entertainment)
The world premiere of renowned Chinese director Zhang Yimou's new period historical epic Shadow was held on Thursday at the 75th Venice International Film Festival and the oriental aesthetics that are a great feature of the film wowed the audience.
Zhang appeared at the red-carpet event with cast members Zheng Kai, Wang Qianyuan, Hu Jun, Wang Jingchun and Guan Xiaotong.
The director declared: "A shadow must seamlessly meld with reality, so that true and false can't be distinguished. I liked the idea of these political substitutes - the body doubles whose stories have never been told before."
As the only Chinese-language film in the Venice festival this year, the world premiere of Shadow was held at the theater Sala Grande, packed with more than 1,000 people.
The action segments, ink-wash-painting-inspired scenes and traditional Chinese instrument-focused score ensured a standing ovation from the audience and high praise from the critics.
Demetrios Matheou from Screen Daily wrote after the screening: "There's a particular adjustment in Zhang Yimou's latest foray into martial arts action, namely the decision to base his visual style on the ink brush technique of Chinese painting.
A director known for the sumptuous coloring of his epics now works in a virtually consistent monochrome palette. The result is striking and, unsurprisingly, just as beautiful."
Zhang explained that in order to achieve the visual style of his film, he did not rely on computer effects, but rather created sets that were "as complete as a painting" in terms of design, costumes, makeup, and lighting, while the battle scenes involved a month of shooting in the rain.
The director added that, while "we are all bound by the invisible laws of history," in this movie he wanted to show "how a common man can manage not only to survive amid the power games of kings and the aristocracy, but even manage to turn defeat into victory."