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Ang Lee’s America, in living colour

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To examine the question of whether there is any distinctively ‘Chinese’ cinematic colour palette (so often stereotyped as non-naturalistic and arbitrary, sometimes with very limited saturation, at other times exotically bold), this article examines Ang Lee’s use of colour in his so-called ‘American trilogy’ of films: The Ice Storm (1997), Ride with the Devil (1999) and Brokeback Mountain (2005). The conclusion drawn here is that no meaningful generalizations based on national origins can be drawn about either these films or Ang’s Taiwan-based films, but that a detailed examination of his use of colour, film by film and scene by scene, is a rewarding exercise that reveals his careful attention to the role of colour, contributing specifically to the artistic quality of his work.

Keywords: Ang Lee; costume design; film colour; set decoration; ‘Chineseness’

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/jcc.6.3.283_1

Affiliations: Princeton University

Publication date: November 26, 2012

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Chinese Cinemas is a major refereed academic publication devoted to the study of Chinese film, drawing on the recent world-wide growth of interest in Chinese cinemas. An incredibly diverse range of films has emerged from all parts of the Chinese-speaking world over the last few years, with an ever increasing number of border-crossing collaborative efforts prominent among them. These exciting developments provide abundant ground for academic research.
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