Tuesday, July 4, 2017


Some of the best films ever made are the ones that the general audience has never seen, and this is because they were made outside of the United States. Welcome to another installment of FOREIGN FILM SPOTLIGHT, where we showcase some of the best in foreign cinema to help broaden your horizons. This week we take a look at Chinese martial arts film from 2000, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON.

One of the reasons I was drawn to this movie was because of its director, Ang Lee. He directed Sense and Sensibility back in 1995, which is the film that introduced me to him as a director.  Other films he has directed that I enjoyed were 2005's Brokeback Mountain and 2012's Life of PI.

I cannot believe that this film is almost 20 years old. However, the years haven't dimmed the greatness of this film one bit. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is about a proficient swordsman and martial artist named Master Li Mu Bai, played by Chow Yun-Fat, who wishes to give up his life as a warrior. He wishes to leave his sword in the hands of female warrior Yu Shu Lien, played by Michelle Yeoh, and have her present it as a gift to their mutual friend, Sir Te. The sword ends up being stolen and that is when this film takes off!

The thief ends up being a young girl named Jen Yu, who has the potential of being a great fighter. She disguises herself and tries to return the sword, but is caught red-handed by Li Mu Bai. He is impressed with her fighting skills and offers to be her teacher. However, she decides to take a different path.

This film was a pleasure to watch because of the superb acting and the mesmerizing martial arts choreography. The characters in this film don't fight for the sake of fighting. They fight for honor, integrity and love. Watching these scenes was comparable to seeing poetry in motion. It was so beautiful to watch. And there is a love story within this film as Li Mu Bai and Yu Shu Lien do have long-standing feelings for each other. However, due to moral obligation and honor, neither acts on it, until the end.

This film was a pleasure to watch because of the superb acting, mesmerizing martial arts, and beautiful cinematography. I've seen my share of martial art films and this film is one of the greatest to grace the silver screen. Roger Ebert agreed with me, saying "Ang Lee's 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' is the most exhilarating martial arts movie I have seen." So, I'm in good company.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was very well-received in the United States and other parts of the Western world. This film won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2001. It also has an approval rating of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes.

If you are new to foreign films, then let this film be your first endeavor. It's a joy to watch and has great acting to boot.

Lisa's Score: 9/10

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