Hero: Women Warriors

moon and snow

In the film Hero, directed by Yimou Zhang, a warrior called Nameless is invited to see the King of Qin after defeating three assassins that had attempted to take his life. This particular scene is part of a flashback during Nameless’s account to the king in which one of the three assassins, a female warrior named Flying Snow is confronted in the woods by Moon, the apprentice of Broken Sword (another of the three assassins who is both Moon’s master and Flying Snow’s lover). Moon approaches Flying Snow in the woods in order to get revenge for the death of Broken Sword. At first, Flying Snow refuses to fight Moon and doges her blows. Moon attacks repeatedly and expresses her anger in yells and grunts while Flying Snow remains silent. The two engage in nothing short of a dance ant the forest’s yellow forests are swept up in the movement of their red robes. When Moon manages to cut off a lock of her hair however, Flying Snow agrees to “help her die.” She makes her move and lands a fatal strike. Moon pulls Flying Snow’s sword from her wound and throws it. The sword hits a near-by tree and a close up shot reveals blood dripping from the blade. When the blood drips, the leaves in the forest suddenly turn from yellow to crimson red and drift slowly to the ground. try to avoid description

start from here: The fight scene between the two female warriors is a brilliant yellow and red color scheme. Each account of Nameless’s stories are shaded in different colors from red and blue to green and white. This particular scene is untrue. In this version, the red sets the stage for the jealousy, anger, lust, love and betrayal that plays out on the screen. In this clip, we experience perhaps the only true violence of the film. The fact that blood is only shown in this particular part and that Moon is particularly vocal about her anger through her series of exasperated yells supports this idea. It is a fight driven by rage and emotion rather than a traditional battle of honor between warriors. The yellow, a traditionally imperial color worn only by emperors, ties this scene into the story line as a whole. In the end, Nameless does not kill the king. Through his trials and with the guidance of Broken Sword he realizes that peace rather than vengeance is the only way to unite china ‘All Under Heaven’ and stop the decades of suffering that resulted from China’s warring states. I argue that the yellow not only foreshadows this but is emblematic of this idea. Violence and anger do not bring closure rather, giving up personal goals for the collective good is the only way to achieve peace. Finally, the scene is significant because it is the only one that depicts a battle between two female warriors. This narrative seems to be an attempt by the director to counter hegemonic orientalist stereotypes of women as frail and meek. Instead, the two women are agile, intelligent, strong, and have super-power like ability. At first, the scene seems to propagate the stereotype that women only ever fight over men. In the end however, this sexist perception is done away with when the scene is revealed to be made up and, in reality, the two women are strong, virtuous, and idealistic to the death.

it would be clearer should the writing move from one color to another.

Link to Scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDagtOmhkGo



Hero, Yimou Zhang, 2002. Film.