by Joe Nolan
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5
Where: Vanderbilt's Sarratt Cinema
While aficionados of Chinese wuxia cinema might consider Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to be overrated by the Western audiences it was created for, there’s no denying the film’s graceful beauty, dynamic action and the tortured hearts that beat at its core. The winner of an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, Tiger was nominated for a total of 10 Academy Awards, and one has to look to groundbreaking movies like Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon to think of a martial arts flick that’s had as much impact on mainstream American moviegoing.
Ostensibly a story about a stolen sword, Tiger is also a film about gender roles and the obligations and expectations that keep people from loving one another. While the film’s Yuen Woo-Ping-choreographed action sequences culminate in the famous floating fight in the treetops of a bamboo forest, the shot I never forget finds Tiger’s two star-crossed warriors — played by a stoic Chow Yun Fat and an outstanding Michelle Yeoh — sitting perfectly still in aching silence.
The free screening is presented as part of Vanderbilt University’s International Lens Film Series. Upcoming highlights this fall include the Milo Forman classic One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the trippy animation of Les Contes de la Nuit (Tales of the Night), the racist-face-tattoo-removal gore-fest documentary Erasing Hate and the Bollywood epic Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India, which is the Gone with the Wind of social justice cricket competition musicals.