Ang Lee film festival comes to UTSA

The East Asia Institute (EAI) will host the “Ang Lee Film Festival” at the UTSA’s Main Campus starting Thursday, Feb. 27. With the help of a grant given from Houston’s Taiwan Academy, the EAI will screen three different movies: “Life of Pi”, “The Wedding Banquet” and “Eat Drink Man Woman.”

“Life of Pi” is based on the best-selling novel by Yann Martel. It is an adventurous story of Pi Patel, the son of a zookeeper. Pi’s family decides to move to Canada, so they hitch a ride on a great freighter. After a shipwreck, Pi finds himself on the Pacific Ocean in a 26-foot lifeboat with four different wild animals—a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan and a tiger—fighting for survival.

“The Wedding Banquet” is about a gay New Yorker who fakes his wedding with a young woman in order to satisfy his traditional Taiwanese family. Because Gao Wai never told his family the truth about his sexuality, he tries to hide his long-term relationship with his lover, Simon, by marrying Wei-Wei—who only wants a green card.

“Eat Drink Man Woman” follows Senior Master Chef Chu who lives with his three unmarried daughters in a large house in Taipei. The movie consists of their Sunday dinner routine and the love lives of each one.

Ang Lee, the director of all three films, was born in Pingtung, Taiwan in 1954. In 1975, Lee graduated from the National Taiwan College of Arts. He later came to the United States to pursue a B.F.A degree in Theatre Direction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Lee received his Master’s Degree in Film Production at New York University.

Lee’s film, “The Wedding Banquet,” was nominated for a Golden Globe and an Oscar. The film won a Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. Lee was voted the year’s Best Director by the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics Circle.

One of his best works is considered to be “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” which won Best Foreign Language Film and Best Director at the Golden Globes. “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” became the highest grossing foreign-language film in America.

The “Ang Lee Film Festival” will be a free event and open to the public, showing one film each month. After each showing, there will be a guest speaker to discuss the idea and cultural exchange from the societal, historical and cultural perspective of Taiwan. The guest speakers will include Dr. Steve Kellman, Professor of Comparative Literature at UTSA (Life of Pi), Mimi Yu, Associate Director of the East Asia Institute (The Wedding Banquet) and Dr. Jie Zhang, Assistant Professor of Chinese at Trinity University (Eat Drink Man Woman).

The first showing, “Life of Pi”, will be on Thursday, Feb. 27 in the foyer area outside the Main Building 0.106 at 5 p.m.–9 p.m. “The Wedding Banquet” will be shown on Monday, Mar. 17 in MD 1.124. “Eat Drink Man Woman” will play on Thursday, Apr. 10 in MB. 1.120.

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