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Martial arts as emotional

Michell Yeoh

expression g .’4


which is ironic because unlike Yeoh. Yun—liat isn't martial arts trained. 'You could not give him things that .let Li would do.‘ says Lee (Li was originally to play the Yun—l‘at role. but moved to America to film Romeo Must Die). ‘Chovv‘s got a big body. very graceful. He did a lot of his ovvn \vire \vork once everyone is tip in the air they‘re all equal but he‘s the film’s role model. acrobatic skill is not as important as how he holds himself. So I had him practice tai chi. for his composure.‘

('muc/iing 'li'ger‘s impact is already being felt across the globe. lt‘s redefined the martial arts film: for anything approaching Crouching 'Ii'gvfs provvess you‘d have to look back to the (10s before choreographers replaced directors and the films became mere kick and punch fests to the work of King Hu (A 'Iimc/z ()chn). a big influence on Lee. Crouching 'Iiger also has crossover appeal for East and West audiences. something co-yvriter Schamus has a theory about: ‘Paradoxically. the Western elements the strong \vomen. romance are popular in the East; the Eastern elements freshness of thinking. Taoism are popular in the West.‘

‘The abstract world of Giang Hti is Chinese society’s wishful thinking about morality. chivalry. romance.‘ says Lee. '11 feeds back into real life: the importance of orthodox teaching. passed on by a fatherly authority. the necessity of guidance to improve. This tradition has ruled Chinese society for so long: I give it a new twist and that is what people find so interesting. There‘s a pupil being pursued by a master. but he‘s chasing his own



Hidden Dragon; she's young and beautiful and he's having a mid-life crisis. The Chinese audiences really dig that. The Hidden Dragon also represents sexual repression. psychological repression. both very prevalent in Chinese culture. Audiences appreciate the repression of the romance and the exhilaration of the action. lt‘s pure cinema energy; it’s raw. it‘s cool. it‘s fun.‘

And it has its ovvn distinct sense and sensibility.


Selected release from Fri 5 Jan. See review. The List has five soundtracks and five screenplays to give away to the first five correct answers received to the following question: What are the names of the two films that Crouching Tiger stars Zhang Ziyi and Chang Chen have previously appeared in?

scary, because it's almost physically impossible.’ Michelle Yeoh

5—18 Jan 2001 THE “ST 11