Best Director for "Brokeback Mountain," Ang Lee infuses freshness into mainstream cinema.
CROWNING GLORY: Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon won Ang Lee Oscar nominations
History of a different kind was created at the Academy Oscar Awards Night when, for the first time, an Asian filmmaker Ang Lee won the Best Director Oscar. A memorable event for Asian Cinema, which has not received the kind of attention it should have from critics in the West.
Taiwan-born filmmaker Ang Lee blazes a new trail with his breakthrough movie, "Brokeback Mountain" (2005).
Lee made a mark in Hollywood in 1995 when he filmed the Jane Austin novel "Sense and Sensibility," a tale of two true `Austin-ish' sisters looking for love and hoping for suitable husbands.
Hour of glory
Lee's hour of glory came in 2000 when he established himself with his classic martial arts movie, "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon," that
won seven Oscar nominations.
Ang Lee was born in 1954 in Pingtung, Taiwan. He graduated from the National Taiwan College of Arts in 1975 and relocated to America. He took a B.F.A. Degree in Theatre at the University of Illinois, and M.A. Degree in Film Production at New York University. Here he served as Assistant Director to Spike Lee and worked on his (Spike's) thesis film, "Joe's Bed-Sty Barbershop: We Cut Heads" (1983). After writing a couple of screenplays, Lee took his bow as filmmaker with "Pushing Hands" (1992), a comedy-punched drama highlighting the generation-conflicts in his homeland.
His next movie, "Eat Drink Man Woman" (1994), is the story of an aging widower with three unmarried daughters who are not bothered about his passion for food, but are more concerned about finding husbands and leading independent lives away from the stifling shadow of the parent. His advice to his daughters is "Eat, drink, man, woman. Food and sex. Basic human desires. Can't avoid them! All. life, everyday...!"
Brokeback Mountain got him the statuette.
Lee, an excellent cook, during the making of this movie, engaged a number of cooks to make different kinds of exotic native dishes! This movie received Best Foreign Film Oscar nomination.
His other movies worthy of mention include, "The Ice Storm" (1997). Based on a best-selling novel, which deals with sin, sex, burdens of virginity and such issues during the Vietnam War, and such national crises, in the sizzling suburbs of aristocratic New England!
"Ride With The Devil" (1999) was an American Civil War drama, which saw Lee ride into a new turf.
A year later, Lee sprung the "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" (2000). In 2003, he came out with the movie version of the Marvel Comic Books hero "Hulk." Much was expected of it but it didn't deliver. Then came "Brokeback Mountain."
Lee's body of work, thus covers a wide range from American Civil War to comic book figures. His underlying theme about men under stress and caught in crises is essentially what life is.
On why he risked portraying homosexual love in mainstream Hollywood Cinema, Lee says in an interview, "Mainstream films have occupied Hollywood but you can get bored very easily. It can be very repetitive and I think now we want something fresh and something inspiring and different."
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