Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Crouching tiger, hidden dragon is a film exploring the genre of Wu Xia Pian. It is the cinematic counterpart of martial arts novels, derived from the literary genre of wuxia. In fact the film is inspired by the eponymous wuxia novel written by Wang Dulu, the fourth part of the pentalogy of the Iron Crane.
It’s the staging of two friends torn between their duty and their secret passion, in the emblematic landscapes of China. They are each involved in long choreographed battles, where violence gives way to poetry and dance.
The film explores China in the early 18th century, during the Qing dinasty. Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun-fat) is a master of martial arts and Wudang. He wishes to withdraw from the fights and decides to entrust his legendary sword named “green destiny” to Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh). The two have a strong unspoken love relationship that they cannot assume out of loyalty. Thereafter Shu Lien must hand the sword over to Lord Te. She meets his daughter, Jiao Long (Zhang Ziyi), who wishes to escape her destiny. Following the theft of the sword, Shu Lien and Li Mu Bai embark on a new quest where their respective pasts will guide their path.
The film offers a rereading of martial arts films. It presents fight scenes with a very elaborate staging, the master-student relationship, the opposition of good and evil, duty and desire. However, he also presents strong female characters with sometimes hidden potential, with an insatiable desire for freedom, wishing to emancipate themselves from the subjugations of traditional Chinese society. Furthermore, Ang Lee presented Jiao Long’s character as the heart of the film, the hidden dragon.