Ang Lee’s Oscar Win Fuels Angst in China

Ang Lee’s ‘Best Director’ Oscar victory for Life of Pi on Sunday met a rapturous reception on Taiwan, where he was born. In an editorial proclaiming the “coming of age” of Asian cinema, the South China Morning Post gushed that “with an oeuvre that spans across historical times, genres and cultures, Lee shows what a cosmopolitan Chinese, deeply rooted in his own culture yet attuned to today’s highly connected globe, can achieve on the world stage.” But for some in mainland China, the win has raised the question of why an ethnic Chinese and not a Chinese national collected the statue, echoing similar angst at the country’s former failure to produce a mainstream Nobel prizewinner. From Adam Minter at Bloomberg World View: Lee made no mention of China — even though China claims Taiwan as a renegade province and tensions run high between them — but he did end his speech by thanking the audience in Chinese (as well as English and Sanskrit). Was his omission of China deliberate? It’s impossible to say. (Curiously, Lee thanked China after he won in 2005.) […] There’s no shortage of tweets embracing Lee as “the pride of the Chinese people,” and “the pride of Chinese film.” However, this patriotic cheerleading has its detractors. Tengjing Shu, a Shanghai-based film critic, summarized her objections in a lengthy mid-afternoon tweet: “A journalist asked me what kind of influence Life of Pi and its four awards will have on Chinese film. I said that it was irrelevant to China. The awards, and the fact that Life of Pi was shot in Taiwan, only serve to highlight problems with Chinese filmmaking.” Many have offered suggestions about what those problems might be. From Yang Jingjie at Global Times: Hao Jie, a young director whose 2010 film Single Man won ...
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