Ang Lee be­lieves new film tech is worth try­ing again ‘A le­git­i­mately good for­mat for artist ex­pres­sion’

Kuwait Times - - TECHNOLOGY -

Ang Lee be­lieves the new tech­nol­ogy that made for hy­per­re­al­is­tic ac­tion in “Billy Lynn’s Long Half­time Walk” is worth try­ing again. So much so the two-time Os­car-win­ning di­rec­tor will use the faster frames-per-sec­ond for­mat in his next project, the box­ing movie “Thrilla in Manila.”

“When you get on the bike, you fall, you don’t make con­clu­sion that two wheels make you fall. You try again. I would do it,” he told The As­so­ci­ated Press re­cently in Tai­wan while pro­mot­ing his film adap­ta­tion of the 2012 Ben Fountain book about an Amer­i­can sol­dier’s pub­li­cre­la­tions tour af­ter fight­ing in the Iraq war.

The di­rec­tor shot the film in 3D, 4K res­o­lu­tion, at 120 frames-per-sec­ond, five times the tra­di­tional 24 frames per sec­ond. The re­sult is some­times-jar­ring re­al­ism, with ac­tors’ faces seen in un­fil­tered in­ti­macy and back­ground scenery so de­tailed it seemed ar­ti­fi­cial. Lee, how­ever, is plead­ing with view­ers to watch the film with an open mind. “I think it’s a lot to take in. I don’t think we should make up our mind yet be­cause it’s some­thing that just be­gin,” he said, not­ing the new­ness of the tech­nol­ogy. “I think it’s a le­git­i­mately good for­mat for artist ex­pres­sion.”

The faster for­mat has other ad­vo­cates. Peter Jack­son tried at a mere 48 frames per sec­ond with “The Hob­bit” tril­ogy, and James Cameron has said he will use it in “Avatar” se­quels. With one film com­pleted in the for­mat, Lee said he feels bet­ter pre­pared to tackle its chal­lenges when he works on “Thrilla in Manila,” a film sched­uled for 2018 about the fi­nal fight be­tween Muham­mad Ali and Joe Fra­zier in the Philip­pine cap­i­tal in 1975.

“This movie (“Billy Lynn’s”) has the half­time show, show busi­ness, from a sol­dier’s per­spec­tive, from be­hind the scene. It has the bat­tle scenes. That (“Thrilla in Manila”) has, of course, box­ing with di­men­sion and clar­ity, you see things you never ex­pe­ri­ence be­fore. I think that’s all good. I just thought this for­mat is par­tic­u­larly good to study faces and do­ing dra­matic movies,” Lee said.

Born and raised in Tai­wan, Lee earned ac­claim with Man­darin-lan­guage films such as “The Wed­ding Ban­quet” and “Eat, Drink, Man, Woman.” He soon be­gan mak­ing Hol­ly­wood films and re­ceived Os­cars for di­rect­ing “Broke­back Moun­tain” and “Life of Pi.” With Chi­nese in­vest­ment grow­ing in Hol­ly­wood, Lee sees the in­flux of new money as strength­en­ing the ex­is­tence of the stu­dio sys­tem but also hopes it will bring some­thing fresh to the film in­dus­try. “I hope the ef­fect is a pos­i­tive re­in­force­ment. It brings fresh­ness be­cause they’re still peo­ple who have a lot of dreams,” Lee said.

While some might hope Chi­nese in­vest­ment will bring di­ver­sity in Hol­ly­wood, Chi­nese di­rec­tor Zhang Yi­mou’s “The Great Wall” has been crit­i­cized for in­sert­ing a white hero into a fic­tional tale of Chi­nese his­tory and star­ring a white ac­tor. But Lee says com­mer­cial in­ter­ests trump other is­sues at times. “Matt Damon is Matt Damon. There will be a time when a Chi­nese star will be more fa­mous,” the di­rec­tor said. “We will get our turn.”

As for the 2017 Academy Awards, Lee is look­ing for­ward to more di­verse awards but also be­lieves film­mak­ers should let their work speak for them­selves. “You make the best movie pos­si­ble. I don’t think about that (di­ver­sity) very much, to be hon­est with you. I think it’s im­por­tant that we make good movies that in­flu­ence peo­ple’s lives, in­spir­ing peo­ple (that) they can take from the movie. I think the movies will speak for them­selves. That’s what I be­lieve in.” “Billy Lynn’s Long Half­time Walk” hits the­aters in the United States, Hong Kong, China and Tai­wan on Fri­day.

—AP

TAIPEI: Tai­wanese di­rec­tor Ang Lee, from right, US ac­tor Joe Al­wyn and Tai­wanese-Amer­i­can ac­tor Ma­son Lee pose for pho­tog­ra­phers dur­ing a me­dia event to pro­mote their new movie ‘’Billy Lynn’s Long Half­time Walk’’.

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