Ain't It Cool News review of CTHD #3
CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON
That's it ! The festival can stop. It found at last his great film. I had doubt at first about Ang Lee's cinema. While I was a big fan of THE ICE STORM, smarter on American society than AMERICAN BEAUTY (still also a great film on its own). But seeing a sabre film co-written by an American, James Schamus, worried me a little. But that was a good thing to do : CTHD mixes extremly well the cinematographic cultures from East AND from West; it makes these cultures answer to each other with fluidity. In this time of "global village", CTDH takes the best from the two sides to push back the East-West borders of cinema, all that by taking the best from American technics, its taste for big family show and the Asian philosophy (the virtuosity from Hong Kong marries the sense of contemplation from Taiwan and Korea; exactly like if King Hu, Tsui Hark, Hou Hsiao-Hsien had decided to make a film together). The epic "à la" James Cameron joins here the blazing look of the Shaw Brothers. CTDH succeeds where MATRIX could not : by assuming a taste for popular melo - the ending is definitely one of the most beautifully written from these last few years...
Those who got caught in the lachrymal kidnapping that was DANCER IN THE DARK, can already go buy new eyes and new tears - without running away from popular cinema. Without just trying to please only the kids. The grace of the script and of the actresses (Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi (sp ?) totally amazing) are for a lot also. It's clear that this film deserved to be in competition. More than the majority of the films that were in competition.
Rumour holds that Gilles Jacob (the Festival's director), as soon as he saw the first sabre fight, declared the movie was not worth the "race to the Palme d'Or". He had already done that with NATURAL BORN KILLERS (still one of the smarter film on the relation with images) and with RESERVOIR DOGS also pushed to midnight screenings. We know what happened to Tarantino since then.
CTDH is also the reassuring proof of the existence of creative process in studios like Warner, which seems more and more like laboratories : after MATRIX and this film, Warner just confirmed that Darren Aronofsky was working on a total renewal of the Batman franchise. What if we proposes to Warner to organise the Cannes Festival in ten years ?