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Thursday, 18 May, 2000, 17:08 GMT 18:08 UK
Cannes critics roar for Tiger
Director Ang Lee
Ang Lee's new film has gone down well at Cannes
Director Ang Lee's first Chinese language film for six years has gone down a storm at the Cannes Film Festival.

His martial arts period movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon received lavish praise from critics, who are tipping it for worldwide success.

The film, adapted from a four-part novel by Wang Du, is set during the last years of China's Qing dynasty at the beginning of the 19th century, shortly before western powers forced the country open for opium trade.


Michelle Yeoh
Action girl - Michelle Yeoh looks the part for Ang Lee's movie

It is being screened out of competition which, according to one critic, is "lucky for the others".

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon stars Chow Yun Fat, who recently appeared opposite Jodie Foster in Anna and the King, and Malaysian action heroine Michelle Yeoh, best known for her role as Colonel Wai Lin in the James Bond picture Tomorrow Never Dies.

Lee, whose last three projects were all US-made, combines stunning, digitally assisted fight sequences with costume drama to create a romantic epic with a strong feminist theme.

Hollywood trade paper Variety described the film as "wonderfully and sometimes thrillingly successful", saying it deserved to "break out of the foreign-language ghetto and into the multiplex world".



There's a part of me that feels, unless you make a martial arts film, you're not a real film-maker

Ang Lee

Respected UK critic Derek Malcolm, writing for Screen International, was equally lavish in his praise for scenes that "make you gasp and laugh at the same time".

The movie's title refers to an ancient Chinese saying which warns that nothing is as it seems.

Taiwanese-born Lee, who has lived in the United States since 1978, grew up with martial arts and embraces the culture in the film.

"There's a part of me that feels, unless you make a martial arts film, you're not a real film-maker," he said.

"It's pure cinema energy: it's raw, it's cool, it's fun."

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18 May 00 | Asia-Pacific
Asian films wow Cannes
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