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Zhang Yimou Shadow

Annual Top Films Lists

Top 100 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2018: #94. Zhang Yimou’s Shadow

Top 100 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2018: #94. Zhang Yimou’s Shadow


Zhang Yimou, one of China’s most prolific international mainstream successes, shows no signs of abandoning the historical adventure epics which up until recently proved to be his forte. While films like Hero (2002), The House of Flying Daggers (2004) and Curse of the Golden Flower (2006) all bowed to certain acclaim, recent English language hybrids, such as 2011’s The Flowers of War starring Christian Bale, and 2016’s The Great Wall starring Matt Damon, weren’t met with such enthusiastic fervor. His latest, Shadow, is a martial arts drama set in the Three Kingdom’s era, although little has been revealed about the plot other than it is a return to Mandarin language. Deng Chao, Sun Li, Zheng Kai and Guan Xiaotong star.

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Release Date/Prediction: Yimou’s fantastic resume is peppered with accolades. He took home the Golden Bear back in 1988 with Red Sorghum (and since competed in Berlin with 1999’s Grand Jury Prize winning The Road Home, the Alfred Bauer Award winning Hero and 2009’s A Woman, a Gun, and a Noodle Shop). Yimou competed three times for the Palme d’Or in Cannes during the 1990s (Ju Dou, 1990; Grand Prize Jury Winner To Live, 1994; and Shanghai Triad, 1995). Venice has been, by far, his most successful platform, where Yimou has twice won the Golden Lion (The Story of Qui Ju, 1992; Not One Less, 1999) out of his four times competing (which included 1991’s Silver Lion Winner Raise the Red Lantern and 1997’s Keep Cool). While The Great Wall was a Universal property which was met with considerable disdain in the US, his 2014 Coming Home (read review) premiered at Cannes in an out-of-competition slot—we’re assuming Shadow may chart a similar path, though Berlin could be an early possibility since filming ended last July.

Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), FIPRESCI, the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2023: The Beast (Bonello) Poor Things (Lanthimos), Master Gardener (Schrader). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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