Any Excuse to Go See Ang Lee

Creative Encounters: A Conversation with Ang Lee

On February 20 in Beverly Hills, Louis XIII de Remy Martin unveiled their new cognac brand over a celebration of Ang Lee, co-hosted by the Film Foundation, and a conversation with the director about his two decades of filmmaking, from 1992’s Pushing Hands to 2012’s Life of Pi.

by Ada Tseng

It’s been ten years since Ang Lee directed Anne Hathaway in Brokeback Mountain, and he is still in awe over her performance in a clip that’s shown at the “Creative Encounters” event in Beverly Hills on February 20 showcasing his creative journey. It’s the scene toward the end of the film, where Ennis (Heath Ledger) calls Lureen (Anne Hathaway), to find out what happened to her husband Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) — also Ennis’ secret lover. Framed in a stark close-up, Lureen begrudgingly rehashes the version of the story she’s been telling everyone and, through their tense conversation, eventually realizes the mysterious “Brokeback Mountain” Jack used to talk about is actually a special place that Jack and Ennis shared.

“I don’t know where that came from,” Lee still marvels. Hathaway was 21 at the time, playing a conflicted middle-aged widow.

The admiration is mutual. Special guest Hathaway, who joined Lee onstage toward the end of the hour-long discussion about his two decades of filmmaking, told the audience that the Brokeback Mountain script is still one of the best she’s read till this day, and she credits that particular scene for establishing her now Oscar-winning career. Ten years ago, she was still most known for her work in Princess Diaries, and it wasn’t until Lee showed Meryl Streep the scene in Brokeback Mountain that Streep approved Hathaway’s casting for The Devil Wears Prada.

Hosted by Louis XIII de Remy Martin and the Film Foundation (the non-profit film preservation organization founded by filmmaker Martin Scorsese), moderator Schawn Belston engaged director Ang Lee in a conversation about his journey from an unknown Taiwanese NYU film student to celebrated filmmaker around the world.

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