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Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee to discuss films at Wellesley College

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  October 16, 2013 04:50 PM

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Ang Lee, the award-winning director responsible for blockbusters like Brokeback Mountain, Life of Pi, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, will discuss his work at Wellesley College this month during a forum free and open to the public.

Handout, Wellesley College
Award-winning director Ang Lee
Lee will be joined by James Schamus, screenwriter and CEO of Focus Features, organizers said. The pair will take questions from the audience, and also discuss their collaborations together on 11 films, which won Lee Academy Awards for best direction (Brokeback, Life of Pi) and best foreign film (Crouching Tiger), as well as Academy Award nominations for Schamus.

The talk will take place Saturday, Oct. 26 at 10:30 a.m. in Wellesley’s Diana Chapman Walsh Alumnae Hall.

Mingwei Song, a Chinese professor at Wellesley who shows Lee’s films to students in his courses, will moderate the event, focusing on themes that pop up through various Ang Lee movies, such as the appearance of tigers.

“Ang Lee is one of the most important figures in Chinese cinema -- and probably the most famous figure from Chinese cinema in the entire world,” Song said in a statement from Wellesley.

The forum featuring Lee will kick off various events about his films this academic year: Wellesley officials say they will screen Lee’s movies on campus, and will host other academic talks on related topics.

For example, Wellesley will host film scholar Chris Berry, of King’s College in London, on Nov. 6 to discuss the importance of food in Lee’s films, such as the feast featured in his 1993 breakout movie, The Wedding Banquet, as well as the food chain theme in Life of Pi.

Song said that how Lee handles dinner scenes in his films is one of the keys to understanding each movie, noting that Lee remained unemployed for 6 years after graduating from NYU, using his time at home to both cook and pore over screenplays.

“You could say Lee cooked up his films while cooking at home,” Song said in the statement.

Three more talks discussing Chinese cinema will be scheduled for the spring 2014 semester:

  • The week of February 10, distinguished film scholar Professor Yomi Braester of the University of Washington will give a lecture titled “The Spectral Return of Cinema: Globalization and Cinephilia in Contemporary Chinese Film.”
  • On March 13, Professor Rey Chow of Duke University, an influential literary theorist, will give a lecture titled “Watching China as a Documentary: Old Problems, New Challenges.”
  • On April 24, Professor Jie Li of Harvard University will give a lecture titled “Madame Mao and Cinema: Actress, Critic, Censor, and Producer,” which will focus on Jiang Qing’s lifelong relationship to cinema, her personal cinephilia and cinephobia and its impact on Chinese film history.

For more information, visit Wellesley College’s official website.

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