Friday, January 20, 2006

Ang Lee

Work finally has slowed down from the mad holiday rush last month. On the drive to and from the office today, I gave some thought about my next topic. Still in Golden Globe mode after 5 days, Ang Lee, who won Best Director, Drama, for "Brokeback Mountain" came to mind. He has a very impressive filmography both in his native Taiwan and the United States.

From Taiwan, my first viewing of Mr. Lee's films was "Eat Drink Man Woman". The story focused on a father who lived with his 3 adult daughters. The only way he was able to establish any kind of relationship with them was through his cooking. Having grown up in a family restaurant business, I found the movie semi-biographical. What actually attracted me to the film was a TV review and the frequent close-ups of food. I can't sit through this movie without getting hungry.

The other 2 films, "The Wedding Banquet" and "Pushing Hands" are actually earlier releases I saw several years later. Like "Eat Drink Man Woman", the common thread to all these films was an aging father coping with a world changing too fast. "Tortilla Soup" (starring Hector Elizondo and Elizabeth Peña) used the same plot and changed the ethnicity to Latino, but Mr. Lee's film is far superior.

If you're able to get access to it, look for "The Hire: Chosen" from BMW's "The Driver" series (starring the gorgeous Clive Owen). The boy featured in the short film is Mr. Lee's son Mason.

Before "Brokeback Mountain", Mr. Lee also directed:
"The Ice Storm" (Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Christina Ricci)
"Sense and Sensibility" (Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant) and while not hugely successful, "Hulk" (Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly).

Don't forget in between "S & S" and "Hulk" there was "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" featuring Asian mega-stars Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh, and Ziyi Zhang.

I look forward to whatever he does next.

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