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Ang Lee

Ang Lee

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: October 23, 1954 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Chaozhou, Pingtung, TW Profession: director, screenwriter, producer, assistant cameraman

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Though he drew many of his influences from Asian cinema, director Ang Lee transcended his Taiwanese heritage to make films in such diverse settings as 19th century England and early-1970s Connecticut to hit upon the universal differences when culture, society and sexual mores collide among the generations. After earning his master's degree in film from New York University and playing househusband for several years while his microbiologist wife forged her career, Lee emerged onto the international film scene with "The Wedding Banquet" (1993), his second feature and first to earn an Academy Award nomination. From there, he directed a series of strong, confident films that crossed all cultural barriers, including the adaptation of Jane Austen's popular novel, "Sense and Sensibility" (1995), starring Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet, and "The Ice Storm" (1997), which depicted a dysfunctional family in 1970s New England on the cusp of tragedy. But perhaps his greatest triumph came when he returned to his Chinese roots with "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" (2000), a stunning period epic that deftly balanced heartfelt romance with exquisite martial arts action. Following a misguided step into comic book...

Though he drew many of his influences from Asian cinema, director Ang Lee transcended his Taiwanese heritage to make films in such diverse settings as 19th century England and early-1970s Connecticut to hit upon the universal differences when culture, society and sexual mores collide among the generations. After earning his master's degree in film from New York University and playing househusband for several years while his microbiologist wife forged her career, Lee emerged onto the international film scene with "The Wedding Banquet" (1993), his second feature and first to earn an Academy Award nomination. From there, he directed a series of strong, confident films that crossed all cultural barriers, including the adaptation of Jane Austen's popular novel, "Sense and Sensibility" (1995), starring Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet, and "The Ice Storm" (1997), which depicted a dysfunctional family in 1970s New England on the cusp of tragedy. But perhaps his greatest triumph came when he returned to his Chinese roots with "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" (2000), a stunning period epic that deftly balanced heartfelt romance with exquisite martial arts action. Following a misguided step into comic book action territory with "The Hulk" (2003), he returned to form with the subtle and heartbreaking "Brokeback Mountain" (2005), which depicted a homosexual romance between two ranch hands, and "The Life of Pi" (2012), both of which demonstrated that Lee was the rare director able to communicate universal themes regardless of time, setting or culture.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Life of Pi (2012)
2.
3.
4.
  Hulk, The (2003) Director
6.
  Ride With the Devil (1999) Director
7.
  Ice Storm, The (1997) Director
8.
  Sense and Sensibility (1995) Director
9.
  Eat Drink Man Woman (1994) Director
10.
  Wedding Banquet, The (1993) Director

CAST: (feature film)

3.
 Hulk: The Lowdown (2003) Featuring
4.
 Hulk, The: MTV Movie Special (2003) Interviewee
5.
 17th Annual IFP/West Independent Spirit Awards (2002) Honorary Co-Chairperson; Presenter
7.
 Jackie Chan (2001) Interviewee
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Born and raised in Taiwan
:
Completed the Republic of China's mandatory military service
1978:
At age 23, moved to U.S. to attend college
1982:
First film job, an assistant cameraman on Spike Lee's NYU student thesis film "Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads"
1982:
Filmed the short "Shades of the Lake"; won Best Drama Award in Short Film in Taiwan
1984:
Thesis film "Fine Line" won Best Film and Best Director at NYU's film festival
1992:
Directed first full-length feature "Pushing Hands"; first collaboration with Good Machine (Ted Hope and James Schamus)
1993:
Directed breakthrough film "The Wedding Banquet"; first film from Taiwan to earn a Best Foreign-Language Film Academy Award nomination
1994:
Helmed the critically acclaimed, "Eat Drink Man Woman"; earned Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for Best Foreign Language Film
1995:
Directed first English-language film "Sense and Sensibility," written by and starring Emma Thompson; film received seven Academy Award nominations including Best Picture
1997:
Earned widespread critical acclaim for "The Ice Storm"
1999:
Helmed the post-Civil War-era epic "Ride With the Devil"
2000:
Garnered international acclaim with martial arts fantasy drama "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"; also produced; film earned Academy Awards nominations for Best Picture, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Director
2001:
Directed "Chosen," one of five short film advertisements for BMW shown over the Internet at bmwfilms.com
2003:
Helmed the feature adaptation of "The Incredible Hulk"
2005:
Directed Academy Award nominated film "Brokeback Mountain," a powerful love story of two young men, which spans over 30 years
2007:
Helmed "Lust, Caution," a thriller set in WWII-era Shanghai
2009:
Directed "Taking Woodstock" about the 1969 music festival
2012:
Helmed feature adaptation of Yann Martel's novel "Life of Pi"; also produced
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Education

Taiwan Academy of Art: - 1973
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Urbana , Illinois - 1978 - 1982
New York University: New York , New York - 1982 - 1984

Notes

Lee's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" (2000) won the Academy Award as the Best Foreign Language Film.

On "The Ice Storm": "At times I felt like I was making a disaster movie, which is a very 1970s thing, because there is the natural disaster of the ice storm, as well as the human disaster they're all heading towards" --Ang Lee to the London Times, February 4. 1998.

"I see a director as a great seducer, who can organically observe things and try to control them. Maybe I don't have to build it into a dictator situation. I believe a group effort under close control is the best way to work for me." --Ang Lee on his directorial style to DGA Magazine, September-October 1997.

"Sense and Sensibility" producer Lindsay Doran described the reaction of that film's cast to Los Angeles Times, (October 12, 1997): "[British actors are] used to directors who are either mean and rude or gentle and nice; but having a director who's gentle and nice but also rude was a new experience for them ... "

Discussing a prominent theme is his work, Ang Lee told The New York Times (September 21, 1997): "On the one hand, family is about security and warmth--you cuddle together. On the other hand, family is about restraint. When the social impulse is to be liberated, where does the family go?"

"Movies and my family are the most important things to me. I try to keep them balanced, but my family has made sacrifices for my work. Because movies involve people who out their dreams on my shoulders, it's something larger than my own life. It's a tough balancing act, like that trick where you try to keep plates whirling on poles without dropping them. It's very Chinese!" --Ang Lee quoted in Interview, September 1997.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Jane Lin. Microbiologist. Taiwanese: met Lee at the University of Illinois in 1978; married in 1983; researches impact of diet on atherosclerosis.

Family close complete family listing

mother:
Lee Yangsi. Scholar. Transplanted to Taiwan after the Revolution.
son:
Han Lee. Born c. 1984.
son:
Mason Lee. Born c. 1990.

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