in about 100 words or less
Taiwan, Hong Kong, China 120m, Colour
Director: Ang Lee; Cast: Chow Yun-fat, Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a martial arts romance film that is based upon the fourth of a series of five novels by the 20th century author Wang Dulu. The beautifully choreographed action sequences feature a combination of swordplay and graceful gravity defying movements in which both the male and female characters participate. Although revenge for a master’s death is the basis for the plot and principal motivation for Chow Yun-Fat’s character, the film’s strong women characters become the center of both the story and the most memorable fighting sequences. Gorgeous cinematography, art direction and costuming also combine to create an ethereal visual quality which is a perfect fit with the dance like qualities of the martial arts. The film’s unexpected conclusion, in which Zhang Ziyi’s character takes a leap of faith is a beautiful and clever way of depicting her desire for salvation and her belief in the legend of Wudan Mountain (Klaus Ming March 2011).