Ang Lee


(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

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Ang Lee

The Wedding Banquet (1993) e` una commediola domestica che si prende gioco delle convenzioni sociali e dei valori morali della vecchia generazione.

La madre scrive al figlio Wai da Taiwan che e` ora che si sposi e che penseranno loro a trovargli una moglie. Loro non lo sanno ma lui e` omosessuale e vive da tempo a New York con il suo ragazzo americano Simon. Lui e` un uomo d'affari. Ha investito tutti i suoi risparmi in una soffitta che affitta a una ragazza cinese, immigrata illegale, che fa la pittrice e paga l'affitto ragalandogli i suoi quadri, e che tenta invano di sedurlo. I genitori gli mandano la fidanzata, una ragazza avvenente e intelligente, cantante d'opera. La sua inquilina, Wei, fa la cameriera proprio al ristorante in cui decidono di mangiare e s'infuria quando lo sorprende con un'altra. Lui ha pero fatto credere ai genitori che Wei sia la sua fidanzata e che pertanto non puo` sposare la giovane mandatagli da loro. I genitori sono entuasisti della notizia e decidono di prendere l'aereo per assistere al matrimonio. I genitori sono all'antica e il giovane non se la sente di dire loro la verita`. Simon suggerisce che Wei reciti la parte della fidanzata per bene e che i due si sposino davanti al giudice di pace in modo che Wei ottenga la "green card". Ma i genitori non sono soddisfatti e vogliono un grande banchetto. Il grande banchetto si tiene e poi il party si trasferisce a casa della coppia. I due sposini vengono obbligati a spogliarsi sotto le lenzuola. Appena gli ospiti se ne vanno, Wei scopre che Wai si e` eccitato e lo "guarisce". Fra Wai e il suo ragazzo si crea tensione, e Wei a sua volta non fa altro che piangere. Quando si scopre che la ragazza e` rimasta incinta, la situazione precipita. Simon, che sa come la ragazza sia tutt'altro che vergine, s'infuria scoprendo che hanno fatto l'amore senza proteggersi (con il rischio che Wai si prenda una malattia). Wai confida la verita` alla madre, spezzandole il cuore. Wei decide di abortire.
Ma il padre ha in realta` capito tutto da tempo e lo rivela a Simon. Ha mentito e costretto tutti a mentire soltanto perche' voleva un nipote. La ragazza intanto ci ha ripensato e gli sposi hanno deciso di tenersi il figlio. Anche Simon accoglie la notizia con gioia: sara` un po' anche figlio suo.
Il padre e la madre hanno tentato invano di far capire ai giovani i valori della loro generazione, l'importanza della famiglia. Ma, quando viene l'ora di tornare a Taiwan, tutti si commuovono a guardare le fotografie del banchetto. Quelle fotografie comunicano piu` di qualsiasi predica.
Eat Drink Man Woman (1994) is a domestic comedy that pits a chef aware that his sense of taste is declining against his daughters, whose sexual life is beginning to unfold with various consequences. The plot follows many turns, but the family dinners, when the chef cooks only for his daughters, are the moments when announcements are made and discontinuities are officialized. For these occasions the father cooks does his best. The "Greenway-ian" parable of food as a means of communicating, of expressing fundamental values, has a sad counterpart as a parable of growing up, separation and progressive loneliness. In Taipei (Taiwan) three grown women live with their widowed father, a master chef. He cooks dinner for them every week and that's when they can talk. But the daughters are beginning to realize that his cooking skills are declining.
Chang is a religious woman who teaches Physics and goes to Catholic church. After a student broke her heart during college, she never dated again. Rachel is a cheerful teenager who works in a fast-food restaurant and flirts with a boy. The eldest is a business woman who is involved with a man and has found a fashionable apartment to move in. She announces it at the ritual family dinner, prepared scrupolously by the father.
The father cannot stay the whole dinner because he is summened at the restaurant for an emergency. Chang talks to a divorced neighbor who has a daughter and is still harassed by her ex-husband. The following day she accidentally meets a young volleyball instructor who seems attracted to her. Somebody is making fun of her frigidity by leaving on her desk anonymous love letters.
The business woman is told by the chief that she may be promoted to vice-president and required to move to Amsterdam, but she soon finds out that the apartment she bought (with all her savings) was a fraud.
The youngest daughter gets pregnant and moves in with her boyfriend.
The eldest daughter finds out that the boy who broke her sister's heart in school is a colleague and confronts him, but this way she learns that her sister invented the whole thing.
After the death of an uncle, that leaves the father even lonelier, Chang gets the impulse to completely change personality, and the shy choir girl suddenly transforms into a sexy and smart woman. The volleyball instructor kisses her.
The business woman loses even her boyfriend, after losing her money. At the next dinner Chang announces that she got married, and leaves with her husband.
The father has decided to retire from the restaurant. The business woman decides to turn down the Amsterdam position: the one who first announced her intention to move out is the one who is left home with their father. At the next dinner the divorced neighbor is also invited and the daughters expect the announcement of their wedding. Instead, the father surprises everybody by announcing he had a secret relationship with the young daughter of the old woman, and that he wants to live with her in a new house.
He has it his way and, far from retiring from life, gets her pregnant. And suddenly he recovers his sense of taste: he can taste the soup that the eldest daughter has cooked for him.

Mangiare bere uomo donna(1994) è una commedia familiare che contrappone uno chef che si rende conto che il suo palato se ne sta andando alle sue figlie , la cui vita sessuale sta cominciando a svilupparsi con svariate conseguenze.

.La trama ha molte svolte, ma i momenti più importanti sono i pranzi di famiglia, quando il cuoco cucina solo per le figlie , perché è solo allora che vengono annunciati i cambiamenti.E’ proprio per queste occasioni che il padre dà il suo meglio in cucina .Questa parabola alla Greenway , sul cibo come mezzo per comunicare, per esprimere valori fondamentali , ha un triste equivalente come parabola della crescita , della separazione e della graduale solitudine .

A Taipei, Taiwan , tre donne adulte abitano con il padre, chef rimasto vedovo.

Prepara il pranzo per loro ogni settimana , ed è allora che hanno occasione per parlare.Ma le sue figlie cominciano e rendersi conto che le sue capacità gastronomiche stanno declinando .

Chang è una donna religiosa che insegna fisica e frequenta la chiesa cattolica .Dopo essere stata abbandonata da uno spasimante ai tempi dell’università , ha smesso di avere appuntamenti . Rachel è una ragazzina vivace che lavora in un fast –food e flirta con un ragazzo. La figlia maggiore è una donna d’affari impegnata con un uomo , ha appena trovato un appartamento alla moda dove andare ad abitare , intenzione annunciata al consueto pranzo di famiglia preparato meticolosamente dal padre .

Quest’ultimo , causa un’emergenza , deve correre al ristorante .Chang chiacchiera con una vicina di casa divorziata che ha una figlia e le racconta di come l’ex marito la stia ancora infastidendo . Il giorno dopo Chang incontra per caso un giovane insegnante di pallavolo che sembra interessato a lei . Qualcuno si prende gioco della sua freddezza lasciandole sulla scrivania lettere d’amore anonime . La donna d’affari viene informata dal suo datore di un lavoro , è probabile che venga promossa a vicepresidente e chiamata a lavorare ad Amsterdam . L’appartamento che ha comprato con tutti i suoi risparmi , invece , si rivela essere un ‘ imbroglio .

La figlia minore rimane incinta e si trasferisce dal suo fidanzato . La figlia maggiore scopre che il ragazzo che spezzò il cuore di sua sorella ai tempi dell’università è un suo collega e lo affronta ; scopre così che sua sorella ha inventato tutto . Dopo la morte di uno zio, evento che lascia il padre sempre più solo , Chang decide d’impulso di cambiare totalmente , così da ragazza casa e chiesa si trasforma in donna sexy e brillante . L’insegnante di pallavolo la bacia . La donna d’affari , dopo aver perso tutti i soldi , perde persino il fidanzato . Al pranzo successivo Chang annuncia di essersi sposata e parte con il marito . Il padre decide di smettere di lavorare al ristorante . La donna d’affari decide di rifiutare la promozione ad Amsterdam, lei che aveva annunciato di andarsene resta a casa col padre.

Al pranzo successivo viene invitata anche la vicina di casa divorziata e le figlie si

aspettano l’annuncio di un imminente matrimonio. Al contrario il padre sorprende tutti rivelando la sua storia segreta con la figlia della vicina e della loro intenzione di trasferirsi in una nuova casa . Realizza i suoi intenti e , lungi dallo smettere di darsi da fare, la mette incinta . Improvvisamente ritrova il palato : può assaporare la zuppa che la figlia maggiore gli ha preparato.

The Ice Storm (1997) is a bitter comedy of family neuroses.

At school, as a young man, Paul, he falls in love with a rich spoiled girl. At home his parents lead a normal, stereotyped, meaningless life, mingling with equally insignificant friends, while his sister Wendy practices radical politics like a pundit. They all have a more or less deviant sexual life: the father sleeps with the attractive friend, the mother Elena frigidly flirts with a preacher and the sister experiments with boys in a perversely manner.
The family of the attractive friend, Janey, is no better. Her husband is always away for business. The two sons are shy and always scared, as if they had been traumatized. They are Wendy's favorite sexual victims. The father, at the friends' house for a failed romantic rendesvouz with Janey, surprises his rebellious teenager while she's touching the genitals of one of the boys.
Husband and wife hardly speak. At a party with their friends, Paul's father, who has just confessed to his wife, is rejected by Janey and gets drunk. In the meantime, Paul manages by luck to get her rich spoiled girl drugged, but then can't take advantage of her. At home Wendy is visited by the younger, dumber son of Janey, as the elder one wanders by the lake during an ice storm waiting for her to show up. Wendy provokes again the young boy, gets him drunk and gets him naked into her bed. At the party the couples use the car keys to change partner for one night. Janey goes with a boy and Paul's father has a fit of desperation. While he's in the bathroom, fate couples Elena with Janey's husband. Both inexperienced in extramarital affairs, the two neighbors are reluctant to take advantage of circumstances, then finally take off but the car gets stuck in the mud. Janey's elder boy is still playing by himself in the woods until a severed electrical cable electrocutes him. On the way back home, Paul's father finds Janey's boy lying dead in the street.
Months later, Paul takes a train back home and his family is at the station waiting for him. They get in the car and the father starts crying on the steering wheel.

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon is a kung-fu movie and a historical movie that displays Lee's skills at portraying ordinary lives in a mythical manner and provides a postmodern take on a traditional art, but ultimately fails to deliver anything but a fairy tale version of it. The most remarkable aspect of the film is the careful reconstruction of life in the medieval villages and cities of China. The photography of the landscape is no less fantastic.

Li is a legendary warrion who is tired of fighting and killing (after a long meditation he has achieved sorrow not enlightment) and asks his friend Shu Lien, a woman warrior who cares for him, to deliver his sword to a wise man. He, Li, will travel to visit his master's tomb. His master was killed by the evil warrior Jade Fox, whose whereabouts are unknown.
Shu Lien reaches the city, crowded with acrobats, charlatans and fire eaters, and delivers to sword to the old man, who is busy advising the governor, Yu. Yu's daughter Jen is betrothed to a member of another powerful clan: their marriage will create a powerful alliance. But Jen is bored and depressed and dreams of Shu Lien's heroic life as a warrior.
At night, the sword is stolen by a brave masqued woman who flees on the roofs, in vain chased by Shu Lien. The wise man suspects that someone is trying to ruin the reputation of the governor.
Shu Lien used to be engaged to Li's brother, but then Li's brother died, Li and Shu Lien fell in love but neither wanted to offend the dead man's memory and so they never even dared talk of marrying.
Jen remembers the caravan in the desert when his father and his court where moving to his new post.
An undercover police officer is chasing Jade Fox and has arrived in town. He is looking for revenge, as Jade Fox killed his wife too. They meet at midnight and start a bloody duel. Jade Fox is actually Jen's maid, who became an evil warrior after being rejected by the warriors because she is a woman. The police officer dies even if Li arrives to take his side. Li is about to defeat Jade Fox when the young masqued robber appears and saves her. But Li gets his sword back and teaches the young arrogant woman a lesson. He offers to teach her the real art of fighting but she is too proud to accept.
Jen is visited by her secret lover, Lo, who wants her to flee with him to the desert. Jen remembers how his father's caravan was attacked by Lo's bandits, and how she fought against the leader, Lo, who had stolen her comb, and how she ended up prisoner in his tent and how eventually they fell in love. Now Lo wants to stop the marriage of interest and the following day he attacks the wedding procession.
Jen runs away and steals the sword again. Now it is clear who the mysterious warrior is. Li and Shu Lien promise to chase her and rescue the sword. Jen stops at a rest house and is attacked by the men. She massacres them and almost destroys the place. Eventually, Shu Lien and Li find her. In the duel against Li, Jen loses the sword again. Li throws it in the rapids. Jen dives into the water. Jade Fox saves Jen and takes her to a secret hideout. Jade Fox is bitter with her: she has taught Jen everything but Jen has never been grateful. On the contrary Jen only shows contempt for her master. Jade Fox drugs her. Li and Shu Lien find the hideout and Li kills Jade Fox in a duel. Jade Fox had been betrayed all the time by Jen as well, even if she never realized it: Jade Fox learned by looking at the diagrams of the manual for warriors, while Jen could read all the rules and learn a lot more, but Jen never helped Jade Fox. After Jade Fox dies, Jen is reformed. But one of Jade Fox' poisoned arrows has struck Li' sneck, and Li dies in Shu Lien's arms before Jen can prepare the antidote.
Shu Lien travels back to the wise old man. Jen rejoins Lo on the top of a mountain who is said to grant a wish to anybody who dares jump from it. Jen asks Lo for a wish. Lo wishes her. Jen jumps.
The plot is ridiculous at best, a sort of chinese Titanic. The characters do not make much of their roles. Ultimately, the most interesting character is Jade Fox, the poor woman who was rejected by the elite and struggled against them and is deceived even by the one she trained. Everybody else is a cartoon.

Life of Pi (2012) is a mediocre adaptation of Yann Martel's novel of 2002. The value of the film is the photography (mainly of natural environments). The story is an elaborate fairy tale with tigers, apes and zebras to embellish the human epic of a young castaway, a sort of Robinson Crusoe in Disneyland. There are the inevitable Hollywodian Indian ethnic scenes and there is the usual happy ending. It is all very tedious except the photography of wildlife.

The story is narrated by the protagonist, an Indian man, to a Canadian writer who came to India to write a book. A series of flashbacks show the story of the protagonist. The name of the protagonist is Piscine, the French word for "swimming pool", because his parents loved swimming pools and a favorite was in France. When he was born, his parents were running a zoo with a tiger, a zebra, an orangutang, etc. Being mocked by the other children ("pyscine" sounds like "pissing" in English), the boy decided to change name to Pi. As a young boy he got into religion: first Hindu, then Catholicism, then Islam. His father, however, explained to him the power of reason. The boy was bold and restless and one day almost got eaten by the tiger. His father taught him a lesson by showing him what the tiger did to a lamb. The lesson was that animals have no soul, that we see in their eyes the emotions that we feel, not the emotions that they feel. One day his father decided to pack the zoo and leave on a Japanese cargo ship. The boy had just fallen in love with a girl and had to part painfully from her, promising to come back. During a powerful storm that initially excited the boy, the ship sank. Most animals drowned but a zebra, an orangutang and a hyena ended up in a lifeboat with Pi, blown far away from the sinking ship. The hyena promptly killed the zebra and later the ape. Then a tiger comes out of its hiding place and kills the hyena. In order to avoid their fate, Pi had to float behind the lifeboat on a raft built out of lifesavers and oars, and feed the tiger with fish, getting back on the boat only to collect rainwater and the food supplies. When the tiger made the mistake of jumping in the sea to catch fish, Pi outsmarted it and managed to get back in the boat and make it impossible for the boat to climb back into it. Pi could have killed the tiger easily but just couldn't do it. Instead, he helped the animal get back into the boat and then returned to his improvised annex. A whale, a school of flying fish, dolphins, etc entertained the lonely castaway. Evetually, the vegetarian Pi started eating fish and even learned how to tame the tiger. They began to sleep on the boat together, respecting each other. Just when he ended the pencil with which he was writing his diary, the boat docked overnight at a floating island. The boy marveled at the magic wildlife (mostly meerkats) and pure water of the ponds. However, at night he realized that the entire island was a carnivore: he found a person's tooth inside a flower. He called the tiger and together they fled the island. Later they reached the Mexican coast. The tiger walked slowly towards the jungle and never looked back. Pi cried at the soulless behavior of the animal that had spent 22 days with him. Rescued by local people, Pi was later interviewed at the hospital by Japanese men sent to investigate the sinking of the ship. He told them the story but they didn't believe him. So he changed the story and made it more credible. What he did was simple: he replaced each animal with a human character (the hyena becomes the ship's cook, the zebra becomes an invalid sailor, the orangutang becomes Pi's own mother... and the tiger becomes Pi himself... the cook kills the sailor and Pi's mother for food... Pi then kills the cook and eats him).
Now we realize that maybe the real story is the one with human characters and he narrated a version in which each person is replaced by an animal representing the personality of the person. Back to the present, Pi introduces the writer to his family: he had rejoined his love and married her.

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (2016), adapted from Ben Fountain's 2012 novel,

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