“I would rather drift by your side than enter heaven without you. Because of your love, I will never be a lonely spirit.” This beautiful line would have never been known to me until I watched the film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It has been very invigorating year at my University; full of beautiful art and culture of China. Personally, I have had a very limited familiarity with Chinese cinema and only now getting the chance experience them. As a result, in this blog I will share my thoughts on Chinese cinematic film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
As my first choice of choosing a Chinese film, I found the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to be one of my favorites. Although the film was an American-Chinese/Taiwanese co-production, I felt that the film really represented a great example of Chinese cinema. While watching the film, I found the amount of passion the actors put forth into the film to be very intriguing. In this sense, the film gave off a more realistic feel which allowed me to immerse myself in their world. I personally found the martial arts sequences to some of best cinematic shots I have ever seen. Back in the 90’s, I fell in love with the Matrix films because of it immense fighting scenes and in which the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon film matched almost completely. While digging up some history on the film, I found that the Matrix films received much of its influence from the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and would be used by other films to come.
To add to the sense of realism is the amount of stunning cinematography shot throughout the film. The film was not afraid to show off many wide shots to capture the scenery that surrounded the actors. They also used exceptionally well place medium shots and close ups that allows the audience to see the dedication the actors had in the film. Furthermore, the cinematography of the fight scenes that put you on the edge of a sword all the way to the top of trees is truly stunning. The amazing fight scene between Ziyi Zhang and Michelle Yeoh is probably the best example I could find that shows a variety of cinematography at its best. This clip shows a fight scene that virtually seamless of editing or cuts that would have taken place within the production.
The cinematography maybe stunning, but it would be very bland if it did not capture mise-en-scene that went along with the film. These are the elements that make up land scape of the film in which the director did very well in adding. During the course of the film, our actors are surrounded by Chinese culture and architecture that it seems as if this film was just glimpsing the past history of China. Not only did the scenery match the time period, but the clothing that the actors wore was head to toe flawless. To complete this feeling of realism, the actors would also speak in their own vernacular which matched the language during that time period. Most films like this, especially being partially an American produced film, usually would have these actors speak a broken English language simply for the ease of the audience.
In summary, I am very thankful for the encouragement to study Chinese cinema and how it all got started. Although I am starting off late, I have already been amazed by the beautiful film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Through the elements of mise-en-scene, and cinematography it is no wonder why Crouching Tiger continues to be hailed as one of the greatest and most influential foreign language films in the United States.