Zhang Yimou (Hero) brings a completely original cinematic style to an epic battle story, contrasting visuals that draw on China's centuries-old tradition of ink-wash painting against next-level fighting sequences to dazzling effect.

Please note that this film is in Mandarin, with Dutch subtitles.
Time & Tickets

Pei is ruled by a wild, dangerous king. The king’s military commander has fought bravely on the battlefield, but needs unique strategies to survive treachery in the king’s court. He has cultivated a ‘shadow’, a look-alike who can fool the king, as well as Pei’s enemies, when deception proves necessary. Seeking final victory over a rival kingdom for control of the walled city of Jing, the commander plots a secret attack. In training with his wife, the commander devises unconventional, lethal ways to use Pei’s signature weapons and shields. The stage is set for an unprecedented battle.

Zhang is famous for his daring use of vibrant color. Here, he turns sharply to a new palette, drawing on China’s centuries-old tradition of ink-wash painting to craft costumes and production design in rich shades of black, white, and slate grey. When the full, glorious action of SHADOW’s climactic battle is unleashed, the effect is breathtaking. The scale and drama reminds one of Akira Kurosawa’s samurai epics, but the dazzling visuals are entirely Zhang. (source:

This film is shown with Dutch subtitles. We also screen it with English subtitles.

Zhang Yimou, China, Hong Kong, 2018, 116 min. Mandarin spoken, Dutch subtitles. With Deng Chao, Sun Li, Liang Pei, Wang Qianyuan, Wang Jingchun.

During the Cultural Revolution of Mao Zedong (1966 - 1976), film served only one the communist purpose in China. Films had to emphasize the courage and endurance of Mao's army, no more. Shortly after the end of the revolution - in 1978 - the Beijing film school was reopened. Zhang Yimou graduated here in 1982 as part of the fifth group of graduates. Together with classmates - including Cheng Kaige - he was baptized the Fifth Generation.

Just like the Nouvelle Vague and the Italian neorealists, they breathed new life into their national film culture. Where communist film tradition had to be in line with Marxist ideals (people had to be aware of the illusionary nature of film at all times; experimental editing and further cinematographic excess were tricks of the bourgeoisie), Yimou in particular pulled out all the visual stops. He still does: exceptional color games, meticulous framing, detailed locations and landscapes - the director's films are not only a feast for the eyes, but also an indictment of the restrictive political climate in which he grew up.