A Hero is independent and solitary. He is the one who lives for one's country. He has a superior ability but he is also a human being of flesh and blood. — Emi Wada
Photo credit: Mirimax Films, 2004
Hi, in this post I would like to review Hero (2002) featuring Emi Wada, the designer of the fabulous costumes of the movie.
Zhang Yimou, the director of Hero, created an historic and timeless film about the Nameless Hero (Jet Li) and the cruel and dreaded King of Quin (Chen Daoming), who is to become the unifier and first emperor of China.
Nameless, an official with the lowest rank, claims to have defeated the King's most feared and capable assassins (Long Sky, Flying Snow, and Broken Sword) and is granted an audience with the King at his palace, where no visitor is allowed to approach him closer than 100 paces to his throne for his protection.
At first glance, Hero might appear as a Chinese martial arts movie, but the film is as much about philosophy, fashion and beauty, which makes it such a unique and enjoyable experience for me.
The great and colorful costumes of Hero were designed by Japanese costume designer and Oscar winner Emi Wada, who won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design in the film Ran in 1986, and Best Costumes/Make-up for Hero at the Hong Kong Film Awards 2002.
In an interview Wada tells that her biggest challenge in Hero was color. The colors red, blue/green, and white were used in Hero to represent the three different versions of the story, which are told in flashbacks. All the fabrics were manually dyed.
One of the most astonnishing scenes is where Flying Snow (Maggie Cheung) defends her caligraphy school from a rain of arrows attack just by using her long Kimono sleeves.
Hero follows its own, more imaginative laws of nature and is despite the many twists and surprises, an universally understandable movie about revenge, beauty, love, betrayal and heroism, in which fashion plays an extraordinary role.