Director Ang Lee said on Thursday he expected audiences in his native Taiwan to accept his award-winning gay cowboy movie "Brokeback Mountain" because it was a universal love story.
Lee was visiting Taipei for the film's local premiere only days after winning four prizes at the Golden Globes in Los Angeles.
On Monday, the movie won the awards for best dramatic film, screenplay, song, and the directing honor for Lee.
At a news conference Thursday, Lee showed little concern about how a more conservative Taiwanese public would receive a movie about ranch-hand buddies who conceal an ongoing homosexual affair from their families.
Lee said the movie was primarily a romantic story. "Feelings are the same everywhere, Asians can accept that too," he said. "The most touching (about this story) is that love is something one can never explain," he said.
On the contrary, Lee said he had been more worried about initial reaction in the United States.
"(If), as a foreigner, you touch a subject that Americans themselves don't dare to touch, how will the reception be?" he said.
Lee also said he had never made a film that stayed closer to the original than "Brokeback Mountain," based on a short story by E. Annie Proulx.
"There is almost no conversation that's in the book but not in the movie, and the author approved of what we added," he said, without elaborating.
The Globes position "Brokeback Mountain" as a solid front-runner for the Academy Awards, whose nominations come out Jan. 31, with the Oscars handed out March 5.
Ang Lee's Golden Globe best drama winner “Brokeback Mountain” may not be screened on the Chinese mainland, a source from China Film Group, the only film importer on the mainland, said Thursday.
The source said it is due to its sensitive topic: gay love. Adapted from a short story by “The Shipping News” novelist E. Annie Proulx, “Brokeback Mountain” is about a ranch-hand and a rodeo cowboy (played by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal) who meet one summer in Wyoming and form a bond that spans 20 years. Some Western media critics call it an epic gay romance.
The film is rated “R” for “restricted” in the United States, which means that children under 17 are not admitted unless accompanied by parents or adult guardian. As the mainland has not adopted a movie rating system, the film could not possibly be approved by the film censors, said the source.
Since the government has an import quota of 20 foreign films a year, the China Film Group imports more commercial blockbusters than art-house movies like “Brokeback Mountain,” according to a staff member with Huaxia Film Distribution Co. Huaxia is one of the two distributors of foreign films on the mainland. “Although ‘Brokeback Mountain’ won international acclaim, it does not mean its box office will be successful on the mainland,” said the source.
"Everyone has deep in mind a 'Garden of Eden' that could hardly meet in reality," as what is described in the Golden Globe awards winning film "Broken back Mountain," Taiwan-born film director Ang Lee told Hong Kong media and audience Saturday.
Ang Lee won Golden Globe director's award in Los Angeles, the United States last week for his gay cowboy romance "Broken back Mountain."
The film won a total of four Golden Globe awards and was highly appraised by film critics worldwide.
Lee, arriving in Hong Kong Saturday morning, attended a meeting with Hong Kong media and audience at Hong Kong Broadway Cinematheque.
Taking about the award winning film, Ang Lee said, the mankind has been probing for a very long period the complicated question as "what is true love?"
"Don't watch the film with 'colored glasses' and it's a very touching love story," suggested Lee.
Lee said he was moved to tears when he read the original novel four years ago and he later decided to present the story to the film audience.
He said, instead of a traditional cowboy film, "Broke back Mountain" is more of a love story. He absorbed much from the original and the real life.
For this reason, Ang Lee made a study tour to Texas, where the story happened.
"I rode horses with cowboys, talked with them and observed many things in details, " Lee said.
For instance, the electric saw is not mentioned in the novel .Lee found it during his study tour and used it as a prop in the film.
Asking the difference between the "Wedding Banquet", another film of gay-related subject, Lee said the "Wedding Banquet" is a family ethical film and homoerotism is only one of the problems while the "Broken back Mountain" is a family film focusing on sensibility and love.
He said he had not expected that so many people appreciated the film.
Asked how to position himself in the Hollywood as a Chinese director, he said he has never considered the matter.
Lee said, though he learned film directing and producing in the United States, he grew up with Chinese culture. His vision, characteristics and roots of culture could not have fundamental changes, adding his film could not be same with that of the western directors as he himself is different from them.
Ang Lee's film "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" won Oscar's Best Foreign Film award in 2001 and his " Wedding Banquet" won Golden Bear award in Berlin International Film Festival in 2001.
Looking ahead, Lee said he expects to make more films and introduce more new stars the international film circle as Zhang Ziyi.
Annnd here's a pic of Ang Lee during the promotion (with Andy Lau???)
For extra non-Brokeback Mountain (but Asian) "news," here are some pictures of the "Ten eye-catching stars of 2006." Of course, the site chooses the most ridiculous pics for some of the stars.
9) Zhang Jingchu
8,7) Nicholas Tse, Cecilia Cheung
6) Jay Chow
4)Takeshi Kaneshivo (I hope they meant Kaneshiro)
1) Gong Li
Just for fun, while I'm at it, I'm sure that some of you know about the Miss America pageant...but the Miss Chinese International Pageant 2006 took place in Hong Kong a couple of days ago (for those of you who don't know, it's a pageant for women of Chinese descent, but from all over the world). Here are the winner and runner-ups.
First runner-up Ginney Kanchanawat from Bangkok, winner Ina Lu from Johannesburg and second runner-up Annabelle Kong from Kuala Lumpur (L-R) pose after the Miss Chinese International Pageant 2006 beauty contest in Hong Kong Jan. 21.
I personall wanted the Toronto one to win : ( She was pretty (and from North America like me!).