CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON
This film is magic.
It is pure fantasy.
It is unadulterated dance and grace.
It is as though you never saw a film before.


Wu hu zang long (2000)


This page was created on December 14, 2000
This page was last updated on May 31, 2005

Click to enlargeDirected by Ang Lee
Writing credits: book:Du Lu Wang, screenplay: Hui-Ling Wang, James Schamus and Kuo Jung Tsai

Yun-Fat Chow .... Li Mu Bai
Michelle Yeoh .... Yu Shu Lien
Ziyi Zhang .... Jen
Chen Chang .... Lo
Sihung Lung .... Sir Te
Pei-pei Cheng .... Jade Fox
Fazeng Li .... Governor Yu
Xian Gao .... Bo
Yan Hai .... Madam Yu
Deming Wang .... Tsai
Li Li .... May

Click to enlargeProduced by Po Chu Chui (associate), Ping Dong (co-producer), Li-Kong Hsu, William Kong, Ang Lee, Phillip Lee (associate), David Linde (executive), James Schamus (executive), Quangang Zheng (CO-producer)
Original music by Tan Dun
Cinematography by Peter Pau
Film Editing by Tim Squyres

Rated PG-13 for martial arts violence and some sexuality.


Trailer 1 (1 min. 25 sec.)
QuickTime 2.6 MB
QuickTime 8.6 MB
Trailer 2 (1 min. 58 sec.)
QuickTime 4.7 MB
QuickTime 7 MB
Trailer 3 (2 min. 2 sec.)
QuickTime 4.0MB
QuickTime 10.6MB
Wu hu zang long

REVIEW
By David Bruce

There are no computer generated effects. When you see people walking on the tree tops -they are. The actors have no doubles -they do their own stunts. Yun-Fat Cho and Michelle Yeoh excel. This film transcends its genre. It is profoundly spiritual in its statement of the human condition.

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THIS IS THE CROUCHING TIGER
The warrior.

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THIS IS THE HIDDEN DRAGON
The romantic passions within.

Every love has its own force; and it cannot lie idle in the soul of the lover. Love must draw the soul on. Do you, then, wish to know the character of a love? See where it leads.
-SAINT AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO (354?430)

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THE STORY IS ABOUT THE INABILITY TO GIVE PLACE TO THE HIDDEN DRAGON.
Can there be a love which does not make demands on its object?
--CONFUCIUS (C. 551?479 B.C.)
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Click to enlargeClick to enlargeIT'S ABOUT EXCELLENCE IN BATTLE.
AND FAILURE IN PERSONAL EMOTIONAL LIFE.

He who knows he is loved can be content with a piece of bread, while all the luxuries of the world cannot satisfy the craving of the lonely.
-- FRANCES J. ROBERTS
This film is magic.
It is pure fantasy.
It is unadulterated dance and grace.
It is as though you never saw a film before.

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WALKING ON WATER

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WALKING UP WALLS
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SPINNING INTO THE AIR.
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FLYING AND FLOATING.
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GRACEFUL BALLET MOVES
DISGUISED AS COMBAT
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WALKING ON THE TREE TOPS
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TRADITIONS SET IN PURE BEAUTY
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TRADITIONAL COMBAT SET IN GRACE
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ULTIMATELY THIS IS A LOVE STORY

Joy is love exalted;
peace is love in repose;
long-suffering is love enduring;
gentleness is love in society;
goodness is love in action;
faith is love on the battlefield;
meekness is love in school;
and temperance is love in training.
-- DWIGHT LYMAN MOODY (1837?1899)

Love ever gives,
Forgives,
outlives,
And ever stands
With open hands.
And while it lives,
It gives.
For this is love?s prerogative?
O give, and give, and give.
-- JOHN OXENHAM (1861?1941)

LOVE
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies.

Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled. When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good. We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation:
Trust steadily in God,
hope unswervingly,
love extravagantly.
And the best of the three is love.

-- 1 Cor. 13:1-13, The Message Translation of the Bible

ORIENTALISM PLEASE, JAPAN?
Subject: Crouching_Tiger
Date: Mon, 24 Dec 2001
From: Monkiki

This message is coming a bit late, but I've only recently found the website. I doubt that the two people to whom I'm writing in response will check this message board again, but I'd just like to clarify a few points. First of all, Michael says that the Orient and the Far East are not figments of the European imagination, and that you should "call them as you see them." I'm sorry, Michael, but they most emphatically are and by refusing to recognize the latent racism in these monikers, you are subscribing to the objectification and racial stereotyping of a whole set of cultures and ethnicities. I suggest you read Edward Said's "Orientalism" for more on why you should not use those ignorant and offensive terms. Secondly, to Tracey Bauer, "college student" - in scrolling down past a few more entries, I noticed that you said you had been exploring Japanese culture and products of it - such as this movie. I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but Crouching Tiger is a CHINESE movie, and how it is a product of the Japanese culture is beyond me. As a Chinese American graduate student working towards my PhD in East Asian Studies, I believe you are suffering from delusions of Japanese grandeur. Firstly, Japan started off, millenia ago, as a tributary race of China. Much of its own culture derives from extensive borrowing and copying of Chinese culture. Secondly, to say that a Chinese movie is a product of Japanese culture is ridiculous and pathetic, at best. I'm not saying that Japan does not have a nice culture of its own, but please get your facts straight before posting idiocy.
Chen

DEFENDING MY STATEMENT
Subject: Crouching Tiger
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2001
From: Tracey Bauer

On March 15, I wrote a little something about different cultures and this movie. I believe you misunderstood me. I was writing in response to another message in which the gentleman writes, "the jade fox definitly represents the devil." It was statements like this that I had in mind when I wrote about forcing your own culture's ideas onto another. This movie was in a totally different cultural mindset, one that puts little or no emphasis on Christianity. I wanted others to understand that those who were a part of this movie had no such "Christian" symbolism in mind. Please don't misunderstand, but in a Sunday School environment, one may be able to draw comparison. I believe that, though this can be done, a person cannot assuredly claim that "the jade fox represents the devil" when this was more than likely not the intention of the writers, directors, producers, actors, etc. of the movie.
Tracey Bauer (college student)

SHAKESPEARE WOULD HAVE LOVED IT TOO
Date: Thu, 07 Jun 2001
From: Laura

I think William Shakespeare would have liked this movie. It has some similarities to Romeo and Juliet...at least in the tragedy of it all. I also felt as if there was a lot of Biblical symbolism in the movie---Jade Fox as "The Evil One," ...Jen as "The Tempted One," etc...

However, it wasn't marketed at all as the kind of movie I found it to be. I have watched other foreign films with subtitles, and after the first few minutes, you find it easy to follow. In fact, after an hour or so....you almost feel as if you can understand the spoken language....and the subtitles almost feel unnecessary. My husband almost decided not to see it when he found out it was not dubbed. I'm glad he changed his mind and went with me.

We didn't discuss our feelings about the end of the movie right away. It's the kind of film that leaves you.....well.....wanting a different ending. (Kind of like Romeo and Juliet?) It's not just a love story.....CTHD is not just a tragedy...it's not a comedy....and it's not a fantasy.....but it has some elements of all of these things. If you haven't seen it yet (Christian or not), you really will enjoy it. From the Christian's point of view, I do feel there is much symbolism in it....relating to giving over our lives and surrendering it all before true happiness and healing can take place. Believe what you will about the end....but it's the rest of the movie that is worth your time and attention. The scenery is eye candy....the music is exciting....the acting superb and the costumes are beautiful. You'll almost believe that when you walk away from the movie.....you'll be able to fly.

In fact.....I feel like wielding a sword right now. Think I'll go outside first.
Laura

REVIEW
Subject: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Review
Date: Wed, 30 May 2001
From: sara

I've seen Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon twice now, and I'm still thinking about the deeper meanings behind the movie. I'm still in awe of the beauty seen in every detail of the choreography and every camera angle, particularly the scene where Li Mu Bai fights with Jen among the trees. The most striking of the movies many things is that in order to find yourself, you most first lose yourself. Jen is confused; she wants too many things; she doesn't know what is right. She wants to follow Jade Fox, she wants to follow Li Mu Bai; she wants to be with Lo, she doesn't want to be with him. She wants to be happy and thinks with the Green Destiny in her hand, she will be. Yet even with the sword, Jen is defeated by Li Mu Bai. Her pride prevents her from becoming his disciple, and she is kidnapped by Jade Fox, and Li Mu Bai dies. It is with his death, that Jen realizes how irresponsible she has been, and she travel to Wudan mountain where she jumps of a high bridge. In the legend Lo has told her, jumping with a faithful heart makes your wish come true even if you get lost in the process. By jumping, Jen is giving herself up, to wherever her greatest wish will take her. As Christians, we are Jen: clinging on to the world, thinking it can make us happy, and our pride prevents us from accepting salvation. We are lost lambs, found by Jesus and given purpose. When Jen jumps, she is giving up her life, her security, her pride, so that she can find her true self.
>From Sara
saralitatica@hotmail.com

I DO GET IT
Subject: I do get it.
Date: Fri, 11 May 2001
From: Michael

Yuna's comments appear to support me more than not. She indicates that this film has so much more significance to those with Asian backgrounds. That is what I mean when I say that I don't think films like this should be included along with mainstream American movies. Yuna wants us to believe that there is no middle ground between collectivism and her so-called "American Individualism". I am sorry for the problems involved for persons with bicultural issues but this movie, as Yuna states herself, can only add to the confusion. Don't let this movie make that much of an impression with you. It is, after all, just a movie.

Note to David: The terms Eastern, The Orient, and The East are not figments of imagination. Political correctness is not what you are striving for in your reviews. Please call them as you see them. Thanks.

UNFORTUNATELY MOST ARE CLULESS
Date: Thu, 10 May 2001
From: Yuna

Crouching Tiger holds ultimately so much more significance to those of obviously Chinese descent as well as other Asian cultural backgrounds. I myself as a Korean American, still westernized and clueless, can only somewhat grasp the significance of these themes of honor, duty to family, and love that cannot be.

Sadly enough, most people like Michael (who wish to relegate all "foreign films" into separate categories) and Lance do not get it. Especially the ending. I think Wilson Wong said it best that the film is simply about love torn apart by the need to honor. And Richard's analysis of Jen's plunge at the end is also right on point - that her rash puerile behavior is finally overcome when she realizes she must purify herself, mature and dispel all dishonor by mimicking the act of the person in the legend.

It's difficult enough for me as a westernized Asian American to understand how someone could withhold a lifelong love for someone else, even if it was a best friend that had been involved. Or how love that seems passionate and right could not work out. But in Asia and in Asian American families then and today, there still remains the significance of collectivism over that rugged American individualism. It poses problems for bicultural products like myself and my generation and will probably always do so.

Nonetheless I believe that the honor and deeper, more selfless love that we see displayed in CTHD is a very accurate and beautiful portrayal of what's good and honorable in Asian culture. It's the Asian voice that's finally been heard in mainstream Hollywood, loud and proud. It's not surprising that most are still totally confused.

Asian is the correct terminology, not Eastern, by the way. The Orient, or the East, is the figment of some European man's imagination.
Yuna

Response: Thank you so much for your contribution, I really appreciate it. -David

INCREDIBLE, BUT LACKLUSTER
Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2001
From: Michael

Why this movie was nominated for best picture I will never know. It won for best foreign film which is good, it is a foreign film. The special effects were incredible but the story was lackluster at best. Let's keep foreign movies in that category and not allow movies such as It's a Beautiful Life to be included in categories other than foreign films.

DIFFERENT CULTURES
Subject: In regards to fending off the devil
Date: Thu, 15 Mar 2001
From: Tracey

I think you have to be careful about assigning so much religious (Christian) significance to a film like this. I am a Christian, and I also have been exploring a little bit of the Japanese culture lately through products of it (like this film and some anime). I would have to agree with another gentleman that Western society on the large scale just doesn't see this movie the same way those of its own culture do. I'm sure there was no intention of having Bai be a Christ-like figure, etc. Please take this film in context. It is one thing to say it holds messages regarding honor and love, but it quite another to force one culture's belief system onto another.
By the way, I loved the movie.
Tracey (college student)

Response: Force? Hmm. We always see the world in the context of our own experience and culture. I am not Japanese. Therefore, I can only understand their stories through my own narrow grid. And vice versa. But this is the nature of story. We all understand stories differently, even within the same cultural context. To experience a story differently than someone else and expressing that is not "forc(ing) one culture's belief system onto another." It is dialogue. And in dialogue we develope understanding and tolerance toward others. Cultural dialogue is a beautiful thing. -David

BALLETIC SCENES
Date: Sun, 4 Mar 2001
From: Ellen KC

I was astonished that no computer enhancement was used! However, I believe the rapid choreography in the fights must have been screened faster than how it was filmed. Otherwise the fights defy comprehension with their spins, high twirling jumps, flips which couldn't be accomplished in real time, just reel time. I have no comments about the film; just wonder if I should take two 13-year-old boy-girl twins and their 10 1/2 year old sister to see it. I'm sure the boy would love the moves & sort of ignore the discreet fornication, but not the girls. They have never seen subtitles in a film before, & that's a plus to encourage reading. Comments?
Ellen KC
Please omit my address. Thanks.
My first visit here.
My diocesan newspaper rated Chocolat as objectionable for all because of its disrespect & mockery of Catholicism, though my previous diocesan paper rated it higher (a new, more conservative bishop than the one I got to know?). I haven't seen it yet.

WESTERNERS DON'T GET THE ENDING
Subject: Ending
Date: Sun, 04 Mar 2001
From: Richard

Perhaps part of the reason why some Westerners like Lance or Betty don't get the ending is because the concept of honor is so lacking nowadays in Western society unlike in many Asian cultures, where shame at one's own misdeeds can weigh very heavily on oneself and your family. Jen won her freedom at the end, but at the terrible cost of good people like Yu Shu Lien and Li Mu Bai sacrificing their own happiness. Jen spends much of the movie like your typical rebellious teenager pursuing her own selfish desires, acting rashly and ignoring her obligations; but in the end she finally realizes this and grows up, which is why she acts the way she does at the end. This is her hidden message to Lo when she recalls the legend of the young man who jumped off a mountain to realize his wish that his parents be healed and tells Lo to make a wish; only if they were pure of heart will his wish be granted and her dishonor be washed away.

FENDING OFF THE DEVIL
Date: Sun, 25 Feb 2001
From: Steve

what a great film! Ii had doped you might have more insight into its deeper meanings however. i'm still a little confused by the final scene. my wife and i decided it was the girl's way of wishing to return ot her time of innocence before the events that led to so much heartache took place. i can see some of the love story - love versus duty - but i think the central message of the film was about the influence one can have on the direction of a young person's life. the jade fox definitely reprents the devil. jen has a gift that the devil wants to corrupt, lest she use it for good. bai and shu lien want to help her control her passions and train properly to use the gift for good. if the devil could not control her victim, she must destroy the victim. in the end, bai as a christ-type must sacrifice his life to save jen's soul in defeating the jade fox. what a great film!

DISAPPOINTING
Subject: dissapointing
Date: Sun, 25 Feb 2001
From: Lance

"When you enter a movie with high expectations you are destined to come out dissapointed."- Fortune found at the bottom of my popcorn at Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Let me just say I was very dissapointed in the story- not the visuals or effects in this film. Yes, the fight scenes were pretty cool, and with no digital animation you must give it a thumbs up for innovation, but the story was just weak. I believe the long flashback just killed the pace of the film. It is very hard to have any type of emotional attachment for a little spoiled brat like Jen. If you want to see a great Eastern film, The Seven Samuria is the best. Kurosawa is still king. Check out Rashomon for truly groundbreaking way to tell a story, and Yume for great visuals. Go into Tiger/Dragon with low expectations and you might come out on top.

MOST HAVE YET TO GRASP THE MESSAGE
Date: Sat, 10 Feb 2001
From: "Wilson"

Hi David,
Seems like a lot of your readers love this particular movie but have yet grasp the real intended message of the movie. It is simply love but torn apart by the need to honour.

The story does revolve around if there comes a time when you are dead, your fiance was left in this world but grew fond of your best buddy. What should both of them do? Hold fast to the honour in rememberance to you or just accept the fact that both love each other?

From the perspective of the East, a man that honour his best friend and sometimes it is upheld through the sacrifice of love for the woman, is a honourable man indeed. And the sad part of it all is that, the woman (play by Yeo) is from the pugilistic world and know that honouring a friend is the most important thing of all and she kept her peace.

The tragic of it all is that, only when honour was put aside by Li MU Bai (Chow) to accept her love, he is killed for doing the last mission of his life for master te.

Sad but there are Chinese Heros that stood by honour and brotherly bond then to accept the love of a slain/deceased's fiance.

Although it is commendable to do this to remember a good friend by, is it fair to the woman? Maybe, maybe not. This film is to convey that, it is better to love sooner than to regret not to pursue it in the first place.

2nd theme: Guiding a good student to do good, the student will do more good. Guiding a student to do bad, the student can become the worse devil in the world.

To all teachers/instructors of young people. You are the light of this world. Do good, and they will follow.

3rd theme: Do not be naive to the ways of this world. The stories of adventures and of heros are meant for the eyes and ears, but reality is not what it seems. It may eventually lead to the death of a loved one, and also leads to your own death.

That's all I have for this show. I am glad that as a Chinese, the real action films are now shown in hollywood. Real Hard work instead of computer animation/special effects, can be seen to an appreciative crowd. I am glad that CTHD has done Asia proud.
Wilson Wong

REVIEW
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2001
From: Janet

Star Wars in Chinese? (with subtitles) That was my first impression of Crouching Tigers...but there was a deeper message that I can't quite get my arms around. Visually stunning; the violence is more choreography than gore. Strong women (literally) roles--they seem to possess head, heart and physical strengths. The "love" storyline is engaging--sexual themes are minimal--some hot n heavy encounters, yet no nudity. Spiritual themes seem secondary to the martial arts sequences...(more than once I felt like I was watching a human version of a video game.). But there is a strong "good conquers evil" message with a mystical side. I love the wise older characters who try to mentor the young in the paths of goodness. There is even an attempted message of non-violence in this movie despite the fight scenes. American filmmakers could take a clue from this--it is possible to produce an action movie without blood and guts.
Janet

BEAUTIFUL TO WATCH
Subject: review
Date: Tue, 16 Jan 2001
From: Betty

Our family is split down the middle on this film. Though I found it beautiful to watch I cannot say I liked the film. There were many, many things that the film did very well. I would have to say it was the best use of wires/flying I have ever scene, especially the scene in the bamboo. However, as you look at a story and see who's character the story really is. I did not like that person. I was never interested in her story. Rather, I would have loved to have learned more about two of the other characters. It is an interesting film about finding who you are, and honor. Fat was wonderful.
--Betty

THOROUGHLY ENGAGING
Date: Sat, 13 Jan 2001
From: REV

I loved the artistic presentation of the movie and it was thoroughly engaging. However, I am not sure what it was really about. I understand the mythical part of the storyline. Was there a deeper message that I missed. The ending left me hanging which I suppose was exactily what they wanted. We could decide for ourselves what it meant--part of the ongoing mystery--or for a sequel. The marial arts scenes were fabulous. You know each move had to be choreographed, but then the shooting of those scenes was an art form in itself. Graceful and breathtaking. I am looking forward to your review.

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