The Cinema of Ang Lee: The Other Side of the Screen (Directors' Cuts)
Whitney Crothers Dilley
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The first full-length study of its kind, the book investigates recurring themes and motifs across Ang Lee's astonishingly diverse range of works. From the blockbuster, Hulk, to the period drama, Sense and Sensibility, each film is studied in depth to reveal Lee's interest in gender, cultural identity, family ritual and social duty.
The volume not only investigates Lee's greatest successes—Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000), which transformed the status of Chinese martial arts films across the globe, and Brokeback Mountain (2005), which challenged the reception and presentation of homosexuality in mainstream cinema - it also discusses his earlier works, such as Eat Drink Man Woman (1994) and The Wedding Banquet (1993). By looking at the beginnings of Lee's career, Whitney Crothers Dilley positions the filmmaker's work within the roots of the Taiwan New Cinema movement, as well as the larger context of world cinema. Accessible, lively and incisive, this new addition to our Directors' Cuts series not only provides a valuable academic resource but also an enjoyable read for anyone interested in this acclaimed director.
natural choice for Ang Lee as a topic because it delves into the psychology of the human heart at a crucial moment of change in American history. As noted, through the astonishing diversity of his earlier ﬁlms, Lee has dealt repeatedly with topics that displayed keen cultural and historical insight. For example, Lee’s early works such as Pushing Hands, The Wedding Banquet, and Eat Drink Man Woman helped to demonstrate the eﬀects of globalization and culture clash; these themes in Lee’s work from
the government relent and allow the ﬁlm open distribution in Taiwan. Taiwanese ﬁlms are increasingly recognized as an important development in the arena of world cinema, in terms of both aesthetic quality and for their liberalizing eﬀects on Taiwan government and society. The major Taiwan ﬁlm directors who have won international attention and acclaim are Hou Hsiao-hsien, Edward Yang, Ang Lee, and Tsai Ming-liang. Hou Hsiao-hsien was one of the key ﬁgures in the early cinematic movement known as
Mario Moretti (Daniel J. Travanti), a former political activist and writer who, aging into his sixties, urgently needs some money to pay oﬀ a gambling debt. Her boyfriend borrows some money from his friends to pay the old man so he and Siao Yu can fake a marriage as husband and wife. While Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) agents check on them repeatedly to make sure it is a legitimate marriage, the story takes some moving turns before the Green Card is ﬁnally granted. Rene Liu, whose
screenplay by James Schamus develops Moody’s ideas through broken sentences, unﬁnished thoughts, and interrupted communications. This creates a marvelous sense of T H E I C E S TO R M 99 abstraction and fragmentation; at the same time, the viewer is able to piece together the bits of dialogue to come to a more complete understanding of the characters. As has been mentioned, this fragmented eﬀect is similar to cubist art, where small segments of the picture can be observed from diﬀerent
ﬁgure of the Hulk, who longs to be loved and accepted, embracing his girlfriend Betty tenderly after going on a wild, untamed rampage, is a pathetic one, as is the image of the Hulk plummeting forlornly back to earth after hanging onto the fuselage of an airplane. No one wants him—he is completely rejected by humanity. He is the ultimate antihero. Perhaps Lee was facing an impossible task as he attempted to win the audience’s sympathy, understanding, or aﬀection for the disenchanting Hulk. The