Ang Lee Making Movie Magic For this Chinese flimmaker, the road to success hasn’t been easy
Ang Lee • As a young boy, Ang Lee would often sneak away to the movies. For hours, he would sit in the dark and enjoy the magic of the big screen. At that time, he didn’t know where his love of movies would take him. He had no idea that one day he would be making his own movie magic.
Ang Lee Today, Lee has proven himself a master of the big screen. Though born in Taiwan, this Chinese director has enjoyed huge success in both the East and the West. Surprisingly, Lee’s early years were marked by failure, not success. In fact, it was this failure that led him eventually to make movies.
Ang Lee • In high school, Lee wasn’t an outstanding student, and he failed his college entrance exams. This deeply disappointed his father, who was a high school principal. His father expected him to become well educated and successful. But now that seemed impossible. Lee wasn’t sure what to do next, so he went to the Taiwan Academy of Arts. There he developed an interest in acting.
Seeing the Future • After graduating from the academy, he enlisted in the army. But as soon as his two-year service ended, he left for America to pursue his newfound love of acting. In 1978, he began studying theater at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Seeing the Future • At the university, he enjoyed stage acting, and he also developed a strong interest in American movies. Enthusiastically, he watched film after film. By the time he graduated, he knew he wanted to make movies of his own. Finally, he had a clear vision for his future.
Seeing the Future • Following this new vision, he began to study filmmaking at New York University (NYU). There his movie genius began to show itself. His student film Fine Line (分界線) won awards for best director and best film at the university’s 1985 film festival.
Seeing the Future • When Lee graduated from NYU, he began trying to build a movie career. But getting started was difficult. He had trouble convincing movie executives to back his movie ideas. Despite his film school success, six years passed before he directed another movie.
Hanging on • At times, these early career troubles nearly made Lee lose sight of his dream. But his wife, Jane Lin, encouraged him. Jane, whom he had married while still at NYU, kept him focused on his dream.
Hanging on • During those idle years, Lee found plenty of time to write screenplays. In 1990, a Taiwanese company finally agreed to help Lee turn one of those screen plays into a movie. In 1992, he finished his first feature-length movie (typical film), Pushing Hands. This low-budget film won three Golden Horse awards in Taiwan.
Hanging on • With the success of Pushing Hands, his career finally took off. Lee went on to make three other Chinese-language films, plus several Hollywood movies. His film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon won the Oscar for the Best Foreign Language Film. His success has helped him make things right with his father. Lee has given his father much to be proud of.
Hanging on • These days, Lee doesn’t have any trouble getting movie executives to back his projects, either. At last, he has all the opportunities he wants to make movie magic.
Word Bank • Director (N) 電影、戲劇導演 • A film director is the person who manages the making of a film. • Mark (V) 記下；標明 • The 1990s were marked by the growth of the Internet. • Outstanding (Adj) 傑出的 • Denise is an outstanding worker. She always does an excellent job.
Word Bank • Enlist (V) 從軍；入伍 • When war began, many young men enlisted in the army. • Enthusiastically (Adv) 興致勃勃地、滿腔熱情地 • The audience enjoyed the concert. They clapped enthusiastically after every song.
Word Bank • Genius (N) 才幹、天賦 • That businessman has a genius for making money. Everything he does is successful. • Back (V) 贊助；支持 • Stan wants to start a new business. He’s looking for people to back him.
Word Bank • Lose sight of something (idiom) 忽略某事 • Don plays computer games all the time. He’s lost sight of everything else in life. • Idle (Adj) 閒散的；無所事事的 • Our office is very busy. We have very few idle moments.
Word Bank • Take off (v phr) 起飛 • Jenny’s new business is really taking off. It is doing very well. • Make things right with someone (v phr) 與某人和好 • After having a big fight, Bill and his brother made things right with each other.
More Information • The big screen (n phr) 大螢幕；電影 • Jill doesn’t want to work in television. She wants to be a movie star and appear on the big screen. • College entrance exam (n phr) 大學聯考 • If you don’t do well on the college entranceexam, you can’t attend university.
More Information • Film festival: (n phr) 電影節 • At the Russian film festival, we saw 30 new films from Russia. • Movie executives: 電影主管 • Movie executives don’t make movies. But they decide which movies will be made.
More Information • Screenplay(N)電影劇本 • I thought of a great story. I’m going to write it into a screenplay for a movie. • Oscar (N) 奧斯卡金像獎 • That movie is so good, it might win an Oscar.
More Information • Pursue: to do something or try to achieve something over a period of time