The first of three somewhat disappointing movies that I saw over the holidays.
To be fair, "Crouching Tiger" is both visually stunning and true to the Chinese spirit. It is an engaging and often delightful film. The acting is very good. The only problem is that the story itself is rather trite and meaningless, once one discounts the high production values.
This would be a good film to take as an example of the very best that Chinese culture can deliver (although I note that one of the producers was European.). By this I mean that the very best that Chinese culture has to offer is a philosophy of self-denial (the hero admits that he has struggled to sever all attachments in order to achieve enlightenment, but he cannot sever his love for the heroine. Nonetheless, he manages to never consumate their love, in service to the higher principles of his religion.) and hypocrisy. The only real distinction between hero and villian in this movie, as in most Chinese drama and in Chinese philosophy and culture, is that the heros survive - or die heroically, while the villians are defeated. (Oh, and the major villian has darker skin, while one of the heroines lovers is delighted to learn that she is not just a Han, but actually a Manchurian!!)
Note that both heros and villians are members of a religious cult of self-avowed thieves. Somehow, thievery and the seflless pursuit of enlightenment are perfectly consonant. Or perhaps they embody some perceived balance of Yin and Yang. I recall the company president's daughter where I work explaining to me why the general manager was such a complete sadomasochistic jerk, as opposed to her father (who was only marginally better, in reality). She told me that in every company you must have a good boss and a bad boss, Yin and Yang, or else you will lose control and be surprised when the Tao exerts its balance.
I am reminded of "Kiss of the Spider Woman." Actually, I am reminded of the fictional nazi romance for which the play is named, in which this incredibly heroic nazi hero is seduced by the beautiful French resistance fighter, who is in the evil thrall of these piggish looking, obviously crypto-semetic, French guys. Give me a break. Crouching Tiger... is about as Extropian as the King James Bible. Shal we take the Christian Heaven as a good example of what our uploaded life will be like, and start attending Sunday School?
Next, I trash "Miss Congeniality," and "What Women Want." Stay tuned....
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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:56:16 MDT