Thursday, October 13, 2022, 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm
Instructor: Paul McEwan, Ph.D., Film Studies Program, Muhlenberg College
There have been a lot of Hong Kong martial arts movies over the years, but few that resonated with American and international audiences the way that Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) did. The highest grossing foreign-language film in US history, it was nominated for ten Oscars (winning four) and picked up a wide range of honors here and abroad.
While this might have been surprising, it was not accidental; Taiwanese-born and NYU-educated Ang Lee set out to make a film that would have appeal on both sides of the Pacific. He is at the peak of his powers here, demonstrating the directorial skill that has allowed him to build one of the most diverse bodies of work in recent memory: from indie favorites like The Wedding Banquet and Eat Drink Man Woman to Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, from the suburban ennui of The Ice Storm, to the reimagined West of Brokeback Mountain—with a super-hero movie thrown in for good measure.
These films were made in collaboration with screenwriter/producer James Schamus, who describes Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon as “Sense and Sensibility with martial arts.” The multiple storylines involve two experienced warriors with a special bond, a young woman looking for more than a high-class marriage, and a deadly assassin willing to break the rules of honor. Fight-master Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once) shines here, as does Chow Yun-Fat, a star of top-shelf Hong Kong action flicks who had never made a martial arts picture before this one.
With the help of cutting-edge special effects, we end up with a wuxia movie that envelops us in historical China while also transcending genre—and even gravity—itself.
Are you interested in “just” seeing this movie? Additional showtimes can be found here.
Cinema Classics Seminars offer an entertaining and engaging way to learn more about some of the true classics of world cinema. All students receive an introductory lecture before the film and a guided discussion after the film. In addition, those in attendance receive a ticket to see it on the big screen, as well as popcorn and a drink. Please note: the screening associated with this seminar will be open to the public, as well.
If you are unable to attend this seminar on site, you can rent and stream it in our Remote Classroom beginning a week after the event date.
Please email BMFI Programs and Education Coordinator Jill Malcolm with any questions.