By Peter Knegt | Indiewire July 14, 2009 at 1:08AM
A feature film retrospective on the work of Ang Lee has been announced for the Film Society of Lincoln Center, running August 1-11, 2009 in New York City. The program, entitled "Intimate Views from Afar: the Films of Ang Lee," will screen all of Lee's work - from 1992's debut "Pushing Hands" to 2007's "Lust, Caution" - suggestively in anticipation of his latest film, "Taking Woodstock," which opens in theaters August 28th. Lee and James Schamus will appear in person for a Q&A after a screening of the director's cut of "Ride with the Devil" on Monday, August 10.
"The films of Ang Lee constitute one of the most impressive bodies of work in contemporary cinema", says Richard Pena, The Film Society's Program Director, in a statement. "From ancient China to contemporary America, from classic literature to Marvel comics, from furtive cowboy lovers to the remnants of Confederate rebels, Lee has brought his considerable talents to bear on an already amazingly wide range of people, places and events in just eleven feature films. Yet no matter how disparate or unfamiliar the subject, each of the films always conveys a powerful sense of intimacy: Lee draws you close to his characters and lets you in on the unguarded moments and the struggles behind their choices."
The program opens on August 1st with Lee's 1993 film "The Wedding Banquet," winner of the Golden Bear in Berlin. A complete list of films with their screening times (and descriptions provided by FSLC) is below. All screenings will take place at The Film Society of Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theater.
Brokeback Mountain Ang Lee, USA, 2005; 134m
Built upon an auspicious literary foundation - Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Proulx's short story, with a screenplay by Pulitzer Prize winner Larry McMurtry & Diana Ossana - Brokeback Mountain follows two Wyoming hired hands (Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal) whose summer tending sheep in isolated foothills sparks an intense connection that pervades the rest of their lives. Lee crossed familiar cinematic styles with a provocative examination of sexuality to create a monumental challenge to social norms that became his most talked-about and decorated film; Venice's Golden Lion, multiple Golden Globes including picture, and Oscars for adapted screenplay, score, and Lee's direction. Fri Aug 7: 9:15pm Sat Aug 8: 5:45pm Tue Aug 11: 6:30pm
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon / Wo hu cang long Ang Lee, Taiwan/Hong Kong/USA/China, 2000; 120m
When a bandit (Zhang Ziyi) steals a fabled sword, two martial arts masters (Chow Yun-Fat and Michelle Yeoh) hunt her down, discovering a surprising double life and a talent for combat worth cultivating. This high-flying masterpiece was not only a return home for Lee, but also an opportunity to raise Taiwan's cinematic profile using the reputation Lee had earned worldwide. The result was an international sensation and one of Lee's most imaginative works, winning 4 Oscars including foreign-language film. Screened at the 38th New York Film Festival. Sun Aug 9: 8:00pm Mon Aug 10: 4:45pm Tue Aug 11: 9:10pm
Eat Drink Man Woman / Yin shi nan nu Ang Lee, Taiwan/USA, 1994; 123m
"Wonderfully seductive...with affection, wit, and an abundance of fascinating cooking tips." -- Janet Maslin, The New York Times Lee's third film was his third consecutive look at the clash of tradition, modernity, and sexuality - this time within a contemporary Taiwanese family. Widower and master chef Chu (an outstanding performance by Lee regular Sihung Lung) lovingly cooks large Sunday dinners for his three daughters, whose efforts to maintain the dignity of this family tradition are threatened as each struggles with relationships, new and old, and China's social constraints. Sat Aug 1: 8:30pm Sun Aug 2: 1:30pm Mon Aug 3: 6:15pm
Hulk Ang Lee, USA, 2003; 138m
After the success of Crouching Tiger, Lee surprised many Hollywood insiders by taking over a CGI-heavy action tale. The result, however, was not a typical comic-book movie. Scientist Bruce Banner (Eric Bana) is hit by an experimental ray gun that transforms him into an indestructible green monster, inspiring fear (and a few entrepreneurial ideas) in his military and corporate underwriters, as well as the creepy janitor who seems to know a lot about Banner's work. This meditative, brooding, and artfully rendered study of extreme family dynamics co-stars Jennifer Connelly, Josh Lucas, Nick Nolte, and Sam Elliott. Wed Aug 5: 8:30pm Sun Aug 9: 2:30pm
The Ice Storm Ang Lee, USA, 1997; 112m
Two families gather for a New England Thanksgiving, but the volatile mixture of adultery, sexual experimentation, drug use, and petty crime make life at home as treacherous as the very real storm on the horizon. Lee and his longtime screenwriter/producer James Schamus use Rick Moody's novel to create an elegant look at the moment late-'60s liberation met a suburban, conservative adulthood symbolized by Watergate, unfolding in the background. With Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Joan Allen, Tobey Maguire, Elijah Wood, Katie Holmes, and Christina Ricci. The Opening Night selection of the 35th New York Film Festival. Tue Aug 4: 9:00pm Wed Aug 5: 6:15pm
Lust, Caution / Se, jie Ang Lee, USA/China/Taiwan/Hong Kong, 2007; 158m
Shy Hong Kong student Wong Chia Chi's (newcomer Tang Wei) first steps into a small drama society result in a headlong rush to kill Mr. Yee (the incomparable Tony Leung), a senior official in Japanese-occupied Shanghai. Eileen Chang's delicate short story is the basis for this complex, broadly constructed WWII epic of intrigue and eroticism. The two fearless lead performances, Lee's undeniable passion for the material, combined with immaculate visual constructions by Brokeback Mountain cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto, make it one of the director's most arresting works - and his second to be honored with the Golden Lion at Venice. Fri Aug 7: 6:15pm Sat Aug 8: 8:30pm
Pushing Hands / Tui shou Ang Lee, Taiwan, 1992; 105m
Aging tai chi master Mr. Chu (Sihung Lung) moves from China to New York to live with his son and American daughter-in-law (Deb Snyder), who is firmly locked into a heinous case of writer's block. But the more Chu tries to establish his independence in the United States, the farther from home he feels. Lee's directorial debut is a quiet, often funny study of established tradition's abrupt collision with any new order, ably and expertly setting up the dominant theme of Lee's career. Sun Aug 2: 6:15pm Mon Aug 3: 8:45pm Sat Aug 8: 3:35pm
Ride with the Devil (Director's Cut) Ang Lee, USA, 1999; 138m
Ang Lee and James Schamus on stage! Ang Lee's Western sensibilities flourish in this vibrant and underappreciated look at a small corner of Civil War history: the brutal guerilla fighting between pro-Union Jayhawkers and pro-slavery Bushwhackers along the Kansas/Missouri border. Despite family objections, friends Jack Bull Chiles (Skeet Ulrich) and Jake Roedel (The Ice Storm veteran Tobey Maguire) join a group of Southern renegades, only to be overcome by the chaos of battle, a surprising romance, and the deadly range of personalities within their ranks. With James Caviezel, Jonathan Rhys Myers, Simon Baker, Jeffrey Wright, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Wilkinson, and Jewel in her film debut. Director Ang Lee and writer/producer and longtime Lee collaborator James Schamus will join us on stage to discuss Lee's career following the 7:30 pm screening on Monday, August 10. Tickets to that event are: $15 public; $13 senior; $12 member/student/child. Sun Aug 9: 5:15pm Mon Aug 10: 2:00pm and 7:30pm
Sense and Sensibility Ang Lee, USA/UK, 1995; 136m
Following the death of their father, Elinor (Emma Thompson) and Marianne (Kate Winslet), the spirited if financially strapped Dashwood sisters, fall for men of opposite characters but equal lack of marital prospects. Good thing the Austenian interventions of scheming relatives, greedy fiances, and secretive neighbors converge to secure their romantic bliss. Lee's first studio picture remains among the finest and most faithful Jane Austen film versions, graced with an exceptional, Oscar-winning screenplay adaptation by Thompson and a remarkable supporting cast including Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Tom Wilkinson, Imelda Staunton, and Hugh Laurie. Sun Aug 2: 8:20pm Tue Aug 4: 6:15pm Sat Aug 8: 1:00pm
The Wedding Banquet / Xi yan Ang Lee, Taiwan/USA, 1993; 106m
A gay New Yorker (Winston Chao) plans a marriage of convenience to mollify his traditional Taiwanese family. But then his parents arrive in town, ready for a ceremony...Winner of the Golden Bear at Berlin, this farcical romp through the intersection of tradition and a new way of life half a world away quickly secured Lee's place among cinema's new vanguard. It also became his first film nominated for a foreign-language film Oscar. Sat Aug 1: 6:15pm Sun Aug 2: 4:00pm Thu Aug 6: 9:00pm