Directed by Zhang Yimou


Official selection

Venice Film Festival 2018, Toronto International Film Festival 2018, Fantastic Fest 2018, Vancouver International Film Festival 2018, Busan International Film Festival 2018, London Film Festival 2018, Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival 2018


Zhang Yimou


Li Wei, Zhang Yimou


Deng Chao, Wang Jingchun, Hu Jun, Zheng Kai, Sun Li, Wang Qianyuan, Leo Wu, Guan Xiaotong


Well Go USA Entertainment

China 2018 116 mins OV Mandarin Subtitles : English
Genre ActionMartial Arts

“A thrilling return to form, which matches Zhang’s best work for the sheer voracious elegance of the images and possibly surpasses much of it for inventiveness”
Jessica Kiang, VARIETY

Years of conflict have given way to a tenuous peace, one frayed by lingering wounds and resentments. Though callous, even cruel, before his subjects, the King of Pei is too craven to challenge the Yang occupation of the vital city of Jing. Not so his stoic Commander, who desires a vengeful duel certain to spark war anew. Their clash unsettles those around them, including the King’s spirited sister, his obsequious courtier, and the Commander’s loyal wife. The palace of Pei, however, is a place of many secrets, where sly schemes are woven behind hidden doors. There is but one sure truth to this tale, and it is that tragedy and terrible loss lie ahead.

The leading light of Chinese cinema’s celebrated “Fifth Generation,” Zhang Yimou, returns to the genre of wuxia — tales of transcendent martial prowess amid the mists of antiquity — to craft what might be his finest work in that style. Zhang again swathes his somber, cogent costume drama in sumptuous visuals here, though while HERO, HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS, and notably CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER cast spells of light and rich colour, SHADOW coaxes breathtaking beauty out of a monochromatic gloom streaked with blood and black wit. Appropriately, a theme of antithetical balance informs the film — dark to light, yin to yang — insinuating itself as subtly and surely as ink on silk. Indeed, witness the striking physical contrast achieved by actor Deng Chao (THE MERMAID, the FOUR series) in his key dual roles. Coolly splendid from the first frame to the last, Zhang’s newest magic shadows dance with rare grace on the silver screen. – Rupert Bottenberg