Walking through dreams
Film-review Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is action-packed movie with emotional sensibilities always rule the hearts of the audience.
The role of characters in a story is basically concerned with either the plot or the event that motivates it. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a brilliant movie which touches both the aforementioned aspects cinematically; the movie constantly engages the audience in a state of fiction suited to their understanding as well as depicts art in a way that it perfectly dissolves within the story foreshadowed by other elements.
The notion of freedom leans on the basic structure of one’s rights, their wishes and the allowance of pursuing those wishes. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon deals with this notion at every instance and this is what makes a major part of the storyline adequately relatable to the viewers. Freedom is an integral part of this film as characters weave their structure in accordance with the plot, and we viewers are able to fulfil our thirst of desires through them.
Starting from Li Mu Bai, a martial artist, who has always lived life as a warrior before heading to the Wudang Sect to get away from both emotional and physical bonding. In his pursuit, Li learns that the freedom which he was searching for so long remains with his loved ones only. Zhang Ziyi played by Jen Yu struggles through two different identities: one as a watchdog and the other as a lady well bound to tradition. She thrives to live a life away from the tradition and royalty with her love but resists to do so because of her family. At the same time, by clinging on to the other identity, she thrives to make her place in society, awaiting her freedom from the handcuffs of the society. Yu Shu Lien awaits freedom from the pledge of marriage in which her husband’s memoir remains so that she could be with the person who stood by her in all times. Jade Fox, who got the excess and dreaded part of the society, ended up being used by the most honoured person of the society (Master of Li Mu Bai), which resulted in stripping off her freedom from the so-called society. Therefore, Jade drifts apart from the people because she knows that they are only following the blind path.
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Ang Lee as a director had is schooling from a western domain of cultural and capitalist medium of communication.The impact of his schooling is clearly visible in the movie as he frequently uses the three-act structure to define the narrative of his film. However, the brilliance with which Lee moulded the Chinese traditional ideology to redefine the film in his own way is undeniable.He rightly reflects his influence and in no way hints at this influence to be the only path: Orientalism.
Let us delve into cinematic examples to help us understand better. Disney’s Cars trilogy as a story not just develops its characters but also gives the audience the time to connect with them. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon achieves the same effect, which I will be explaining by discussing two of the most viable commercial film series of Hollywood. Disney’s Cars, as well as Stallone’s Rocky series, follows the journey of Steve McQueen and Rocky Balboa, respectively. In the first two films of the series, we understand the story as well as connect with characters. In the consecutive parts, we see the different sides of each character. There is a process of ageing that occurs in our daily lives … that applies to us as well as the films we see every day; this ageing is not only physical but also psychological. There are hurdles each character must cross to grow from a rookie/beginner to a teacher/helper, from naïve to worldly-wise. In Cars 3, McQueen grows and understands the aspects of modern-day racing, while maintaining the age-old skills that he learned from his master. In the end, he decides to leave the ground for his disciple to take his place. Rocky 5 talks about Balboa after he achieved the highest honour while fighting Ivan Drago representing his country. What one does after he achieves the most, he tries to pass that passion, desire and compassion to the younger generation, the same happens with McQueen.
For some, it’s the natural order of a protagonists’ growth and his aging mind that will eventually be incapable of competing with the modern tactics or the younger generation. Does this shed light on the influence of western film culture on Ang Lee? One cannot actually comment on it but simply relate to the culture and how Lee’s creations evolved in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
This film is filled with motifs that show us a cinematic world of nuances besides depicting our daily lives intricately, embedded deeply behind the ongoing narrative and characterization.
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Let’s Break the Paradigm—Breaking swords, balcony roof stalls, tables and desks, swords, weapons used for martial arts, pots holding water for household use. Employing and extending the narrative to day-to-day objects rightly guides one through the path of an outbreak. Simply put, it is the household paradigm of breaking away from what is accepted from you as the wife of a man. Ang Lee showed us how to dietetically involve the meaning of essays through small visual motifs in this splendid movie.
In the earlier films of Ang Lee, we can see there is a touch of human nuances; however, such hints are apparently translucent in this film. The characters have drama within their arcs and this reflects within the story itself. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a film that has established itself as a hallmark for the future generations of viewers and filmmakers.