NPR: ‘Shadow’: An Epic Tale Of Feudal China That Gradually Shades Into Fantasy

Shadow is the latest from Chinese director Zhang Yimou. Well Go USA Entertainment

May 2, 2019 5:00 PM ET
MARK JENKINS

Before taking an unfortunate detour into international co-production with 2017’s The Great Wall, Chinese cinematic maestro Zhang Yimou made a semi-autobiographical film called Coming Home. Although it’s set almost two millennia earlier, the director’s new Shadow could also bear that title. This time, though, the home that beckons is Chinese culture itself.

While Shadow is loosely based on historical events, the story’s mythic nature is announced not by the movie’s story but by its look. The ravishing costumes and sets are all in black, white, and watery shades of gray, as if they’d been conjured from Chinese calligraphy and ink paintings.

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'Shadow': An Epic Tale Of Feudal China That Gradually Shades Into Fantasy
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'Shadow': An Epic Tale Of Feudal China That Gradually Shades Into Fantasy
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Before taking an unfortunate detour into international co-production with 2017's The Great Wall, Chinese cinematic maestro Zhang Yimou made a semi-autobiographical film called Coming Home.