CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON

By Jared M. Gordon

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – 2000 – dir. Ang Lee

“When in comes to the affairs of the heart, even the greatest warriors can be consummate idiots.”

Ang Lee’s homage to Du Lu Wang’s kung-fu novel, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, I must confess, did not make an instant impression upon me the first time that I saw it.  The film soars with Lee’s breathtaking direction and cinematography by Academy award-winner Peter Pau, but I found the story meandering and simple.

Of course, I missed the point, discovered only after a re-watch.  The story is indeed simple.  It is the characters who are complex.  This is an ironic movie about opposites: finding through loss.  Gaining through sacrifice.  Joy through despair.  Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a simple story about masculinity, femininity, and life.
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THE SWEET HEREAFTER and the Cinema of Confinement

By Jared M. Gordon

The Sweet Hereafter – 1997 – dir. Atom Egoyan
(Filmmaker and author quotes from DVD commentary)

Adapted from a Russell Banks book and directed by Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan, The Sweet Hereafter is the sublime, aching story of a fatal school bus accident in rural Canada.  Most of the town’s children are killed as a result, and city lawyer Mitchell Stevens (Ian Holm) travels to the town to fan the flames of confusion and anger into a potentially lucrative class action lawsuit.  However, the town’s sorrow mirrors Mitchell’s own personal drama: the loss of his daughter to drugs and darker forces still.  The themes of confinement are rife within this drama of parents, children, lovers, and courage.

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