‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’

A full throttle combat narrative that is simultaneously a thoughtful and meditative martial arts feature from director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, Eat Drink Man Woman), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was, on release in 2000, hugely successful both critically and at the global box office. It became the first subtitled film to break $100 million at the US box-office.

A violent past is hopefully laid to rest as the charismatic Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun Fat – Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, The Monkey King) gives up his legendary Green Destiny sword, a blade of heroes, into the safe keeping of Governor Yu. But a fearless young warrior steals it, forcing Mu Bai and respected warrior Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh – The Lady, Crazy Rich Asians) to confront the thief.

Beautifully told, tradition of 19th century China is both respected and challenged as Governor Yu’s daughter Jen (Ziyi Zhang – Memoirs of a Geisha, The Grandmaster) questions the gender role imposed on her. The phrase Wo Hu Cang Long (crouching tiger, hidden dragon) also alludes to desire and behaviour that must be repressed within court society.

Nominated for 10 Oscars in 2001 including best film, director, adapted screenplay, editing – won 4 for best foreign language film, cinematography (Peter Pau), original score (Dun Tan) and art direction.

Rating: 74%


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