Oscar Vault Monday – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, 2000 (dir. Ang Lee)
I’m sure a lot has been written about this film, so this piece is mostly going to be a bit of personal reflection, my take on the feminist aspects of the film, Ang Lee’s love of Westerns and a bit of fangirling over the cinematography and music. I first saw this movie in Klamath Falls, Oregon in February of 2001 – a few months before the Oscars. My mom and I had gone up there from my hometown for some medical tests – we were pretty sure I was dying. That first day I got a halter monitor and we were really depressed. I was so ill I couldn’t eat chow mein (at the time probably my favorite food) so we went and saw Traffic and it was the perfect film for our depressed mood. When we had to stay an extra day, we took the time to see Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which we were pretty sure was never going to make it to our town (surprisingly, they did get the movie after the Oscars and it was probably the first foreign language film to play at that theatre in its 80 year history). On the medical side of this story, I wound up getting rushed to Sacramento the next week for pacemaker surgery and have had one implanted ever since. On the film side of this story, I love this movie with all of my heart and no matter how many times I watch it (I once watched it with French subtitles on; true story), it makes me weep by the end. It’s a rich and beautiful film in many ways. It was nominated for ten Academy Awards, winning four: Best Costume Design, Best Art Direction (won), Best Cinematography (w0n), Best Original Song, Best Original Score (won), Best Film Editing, Best Foreign Language Film (won), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture. The other films up for Best Picture that year were Chocolat, Erin Brockovich, Traffic and winner Gladiator. Beware: there be spoilers after the cut.