Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

“Swords and knives harbor unknown perils, but so do human relationships.”

Ang Lee has made a career of always doing something different, so it likely came as no surprise to people after his Jane Austen adaptation, his 70s period family drama, and his western that he then moved straight into a Chinese wuxia film full of magical realism. Despite the wide variance between subjects, his passion for stories full of emotion and repression is reflected in them all in some capacity. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Foreign Language Films Nominated for Best Picture series with Lee’s 2000 film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

We talk about the nature of this film and how it became such a touchstone for not only celebrating Asian culture but also a shift in wirework and stunts in films. We look at the nature of emotion in Lee’s films and how that’s reflected throughout with various characters here. We discuss the challenge of making a film like this with a cast who didn’t all speak Mandarin, or did with heavy accents. We chat about the performers and how much Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi and Chang Chen bring to their roles. We discuss the color green and its use here paired with Peter Pau’s cinematography and Yuen Woo-ping’s action choreography. We touch on Tan Dun’s amazing score, and we debate about the Oscars and how things played out.

It’s a brilliant film that holds up just as well as it did on its initial release. We have a great time talking about it, so check it out then tune in to this week’s show! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

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Ang Lee