By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –
Ang Lee is one of the most acclaimed directors in modern cinema. He brought Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility to the silver screen in 1995, helped redefine the romantic film with Brokeback Mountain (2005), and earned two Academy Awards for directing, one of which was for the film adaptation of Life of Pi (2012). Out of all of the films that Ang Lee directed, the one that was most connected to his cultural heritage must be Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000). Indeed, this film is much more than just a martial arts movie because it is a modern classic as well as one of the most celebrated films in cinematic history.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, is arguably one of the most beautiful films ever made. It actually won four Academy Awards for its art direction, lavish musical score, cinematography, and was hailed as the “Best Foreign Language Film” of the year 2000. Part of the brilliance of this film is its ability to transcend racial and cultural boundaries to produce a very stylized film that is simply intoxicating. Some of the martial arts sequences are cinematic marvels of epic proportions.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon also had to compete against another epic film during its original release in 2000–the “Best Picture” winner Gladiator. Even with that unfortunate loss, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon remains a major triumph for Asian-Americans within the film industry, especially since it does its best to honor Asian culture while presenting a love story that is strikingly similar to Sense and Sensibility (1995), another “Best Picture” nominee directed by Ang Lee himself. No matter what race or country of origin that a person might come from, the splendor of this film (and film in general) presents the fundamental fact that film is a universal language that can unite all people while also celebrating the diversity in the world.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon will always be one of the best films ever made (period!). As of 2018, more and more people are also embracing diversity in film, especially since Crazy Rich Asians was a box-office smash for the summer of 2018. A funny coincidence was that Michelle Yeoh play important characters in both of these landmarks for films depicting Asian culture. The titular phrase itself is a Chinese idiom that suggests that people have special talents that people might not immediately notice, and that expression directly relates to the hidden talent of Ang Lee since he is a masterful director who can create compelling cinematic masterpieces regardless of racial and ethnic boundaries that attempt to separate people. Cheers to the power of cinema for celebrating the cultural melting pot that defines the modern world!
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for every spellbinding martial arts sequence
Take a Drink: for every usage of swords
Drink a Shot: for every scene in the Gobi Desert
And Slowly Enjoy Your Favorite Drink: during the beautiful Oscar-nominated song “A Love Before Time”