The reasons why film is particularly suited for semi-unimpeded movement across national borders, cultural boundaries and linguistic barriers will be illustrated in this essay through reference to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Through a critical analysis of this production, the essay will expose the extent to which this supposedly Chinese film is, as with cinema in general, a transnational work.
Globalisation has, undoubtedly, maximised cinema's capacity to function as a transnational medium of communication. As Lu (1997) asserts, contrary to immediate assumptions, this is not because globalisation has facilitated the movement of goods and services across borders or because it is characterised by an intricate network of transnational interpersonal communication system (internet), but because film has become transnational. Ethnic and national cinema is decreasingly purely ethnic and increasingly international in scope (Lu, 1997). The veracity of the aforementioned is perfectly evidenced in Ang Lee's 'Chinese' film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. ...
Produced and released in 2000, the film won, within the context of non-English speaking cinema, unprecedented international acclaim and box office success, even scooping up four Oscars (Rose, 2001). The film's budget of fifteen million dollars was the highest ever for a Chinese language film and became the most commercially successful foreign film ever to be distributed worldwide, grossing more than two hundred million dollars in global box office receipts (Rose, 2001). Its international success cannot be divorced from the inherently transnational character of the production. As Cheshire (2001) writes, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon's director, Ang Lee, was born in Taiwan, studied theatre acting and directing at the Taiwan Academy of Arts in Taipei, received a bachelor's degree in theatre at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, and continued his studies in film at New York University in the nation's cultural melting pot. By the time he made Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Lee had already completed three Chinese language films and three Hollywood projects (Cheshire, 2001). In 1995, the British screenwriter and actress, Emma Thompson, invited Lee to adapt Austen's British classic Sense and Sensibility to the cinema. Then Lee took on the American suburbs of the 1970s in Ice Storm (1997) and the war-torn American South in Ride with the Devil (1999) (Cheshire, 2001). Apart from the thoroughly transnational character of its director, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000) includes such transnational artistic talents as Chow Yun-Fat (Hong Kong), Michelle Yeoh (born in Malaysia, but began her film career in Hong Kong), Zhang Ziyi (China), Chang Chen (Taiwan), and Cheng Pei-pei (Hong Kong). The cinematographer Peter Pau and fight