What You Missed at Harvard’s Ang Lee Symposium
On why there was no sequel to Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: âWhen a girl flies down a cliff, itâs done.â
Oscar-winning director Ang LeeÂ was at Harvardâs Sackler Museum this past Friday for a symposium organized by the university’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. Born and raised in Taiwan, Lee first broke onto the international scene two decades ago with 1993âs The Wedding Banquet, a film written and produced by his long-time collaborator James Schamus, who also attended Fridayâs event. Lee has since brought us cinematic favorites like Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and Life of Pi, just to name a few.
At the symposium, after several seminar-style lectures from local film scholars (one was titled âThe Diasporic Dimension of Ang Leeâs Cinemaâ), there was a Q&A session with Lee and Schamus that covered many of the topics pervading Leeâs workâfrom gay cowboys and Kung Fu camp to gender relations and family.
For those who couldnât make it, here, in a nutshell, is what Mr. Lee had to say:
On being at Harvard:
âMy father will be happy to know I finally got into Harvard.â
âWhen I am spending time with a movie, I am close to God in a way. God not as a religious god, but as an emotional connection to the unknown self.â
âIt starts with a dream, an urge, and then itâs just survivalââhow can we make this work?’Â I think thatâs all there is to me. Iâm more of a vehicleâa vesselâthan a creatorâŚ Making movies, I donât think about the product, itâs just a way I find out about life, about myself. Only through pretense can you find the truth.â
On why there was no sequel to Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon:
âI think when a girl flies down a cliff, itâs done. Nothing more to it.â
On whether listening to academics lecture on his work revealed aspects of his films he hadnât thought of before:
On Chinese censorship:
âTo make a long story short, I think we just need to keep feeding them materials, keep it alive. It will open upâŚ Sooner or later it will change.â
âI do my best.â
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/arts-entertainment/blog/2013/10/28/mr-lee-takes-us-back-things-missed-harvards-ang-lee-symposium/