Film Director Lee 3 Letters
Film Director Lee 3 Letters – Ang Lee already knows how you feel about 3-D movies. “It gives you a headache—of course you don’t like it!” said the Academy Award-winning director in an editing studio in midtown Manhattan. “The projections are bad. It’s too dark.”
Complaints like these have driven many audiences and filmmakers away from the media over the past decade. For many, this is nothing more than a gimmick for a blockbuster superhero flick, a novelty that quickly wears off.
Film Director Lee 3 Letters
, shot in 3-D and at 120 frames per second, a much higher rate than the usual 24 frames per second. The visual effects are one of extreme fluidity, more like a video game than a traditional feature film. The film, which was released on October 11, is in many ways a standard action science fiction film – Will Smith plays an aging hitman fighting a younger cloned version of himself. But Lee hopes it will be the Trojan horse for a mindset shift around divisive media.
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So why would one of the leading film auteurs devote his career to what most see as technological trivia? Lee claims that 3-D is a fundamentally different art form from 2-D—that when the brain perceives a realistic third dimension, it encourages a higher sense of immersion and deeper emotional connection. He also believes that the shared movie theater experience still has unparalleled power – and that in the era of Peak TV, 3-D may be the primary way to lure audiences out of their living rooms.
Whether Lee remains the lone fighter or leader of the revolution hinges on financial backing from Hollywood—and whether other filmmakers follow him into a largely untapped dimension. “2-D is home,” he said. “I want to go to a new world.”
The director has made a career out of the norm. In 1995, when Asian filmmakers were still few in Hollywood, Lee, a Taiwanese native who spoke some English, spearheaded the adaptation of the Jane Austen film.
Marked a turning point for strange stories in mainstream culture and earned him the Oscar for best director.
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While Lee galloped between genres, styles, and obsessions early in his career, the current decade is one of singular intent: to advance 3-D filmmaking. After James Cameron’s 3-D epic
Released in 2009, grossing nearly $2.8 billion at the box office, its form is experiencing a resurgence: films like Alfonso Cuarón
– praised for their stunning aquatic visuals and glaring digitally recreated tigers – all achieved success in the next four years, indicating that a new era of filmmaking has arrived.
But the triumphant arrival of 3-D was soon beset by a backlash from consumers, who dared to wear big glasses and shell out extra cash. Box-office returns have fallen steadily throughout the decade, hitting their lowest point last year, as studios halted green-light projects and theaters stopped investing in 3-D digital screens. Lee’s ambitious and highly anticipated 3-D drama
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, who failed to break even at the box office in 2016, looks like it could be his last appearance.
Instead of admitting, Lee became convinced the problem was not with the medium but with the approach. Many recent 3-D releases, including
, not filmed with 3-D in mind but converted in post-production. “We imitate film,” Lee said of projects like this. “We are using a 2-D concept.” To truly make a leap into the future, new techniques—from lighting to camera angles to makeup application—must be developed.
, Lee mobilized hundreds of visual effects artists, developing higher frame rates, clearer CGI graphics, and more precise projector technology. The process was exhausting. “Eighty percent of , you are not dealing with art but obstacles. It’s a waste of energy,” he said. But the pursuit is worth it for him because of the inherent neurological advantages of 3-D. “In 2-D, film is a picture on a wall: it’s not something that’s actually real,” he said. “In 3-D, your brain wants to believe that things are really in front of you because they have shape and motion.”
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The film is filled with vivid details like this. In chase scenes on the streets of Cartagena, Colombia, you see not only the blur of motorbikes, but also the brush strokes of colorful street art and the feathers of flying pigeons. In a battle scene that rivals
In its intricate choreography, the punches that are thrown are not just boxing punches but heavy individual punches. “There is a different intensity of someone attacking you,” Lee said of the viewer experience. “There is no safe distance.”
While the action sequences are great, Lee says the medium’s biggest advantage is in studying faces. One of the scenes he is particularly proud of shows the protagonist’s young clone (played by Smith and produced via digital effects) emotionally shattered when he discovers a life-changing secret. His forehead was dewy, and his lower lip trembled. “You can feel the hunch of someone’s temperature. You can feel it blushing,” said Lee. “You can see the thoughts in their eyes.”
Currently, 3-D is still too expensive and unpopular for studios to finance pure adult dramas, which tend to have lower box-office earnings. To continue exploring form, Lee had to smuggle his emotional scenes into the blockbuster. “In painting or writing, you can try different techniques on a small scale. But the film industry has big commercial implications,” he said. “To have something new, you have to come out loud and bold, with big action and big movie stars.”
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Is a hard and bold compromise. It allows him to work with a bankable name (Smith); to create something that has never been tried before (a fully CGI human show); and to grapple with technological conundrums and complex emotional issues, such as aging and insecurity. If audiences come for Smith, Lee hopes they can adjust their visual expectations for 3-D along the way, growing to appreciate the media instead of finding it intrusive. “Our eyes can be trained,” he said.
Lee, along with Smith, hope 3-D can be a major way to lure audiences out of their living rooms
As Lee wanted. Although the film was shot at a hyperrealistic 120 frames per second, most theaters in the US are equipped to show it at only 60 frames, which is slightly more blurry and lacks detail. And that’s not counting the thousands of people who prefer to wait until the movie comes out on stream, who might watch it on a tablet or phone.
Lee realized he was pulling the carriage ahead of the horses, but he saw no other way forward. He remains adamant that theatrical release is an important form of communal catharsis, even as filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese and Steven Soderbergh have moved to Netflix. “I think sitting in the form of a temple with ceremony will always be important,” he said. “There is a kind of energy release and soul cleansing.” He hopes that if he offers something that has never been seen before and is impossible to replicate at home, a chain reaction will occur: audiences will return to theaters, theaters will invest in digital 3-D screening technology, studios will finance projects, and filmmakers on board. above will jump back to media.
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, shares Lee’s optimism, likening this technological breakthrough to the leap from black-and-white film to color film. “If this image works, we’re kind of a copycat,” Bruckheimer said. “I think it’s a big leap. Hopefully other filmmakers will follow suit.”
Director Peter Jackson is also exploring its shape. Lee hopes that an institute or workshop will be created to encourage curious young 3-D filmmakers.
But before the cavalry arrived, Lee was game to fight this battle alone. He has already set his sights on his next dream project – a 3-D dramatization of the 1975 Muhammad Ali–Joe Frazier game – and is just waiting for the financial green light. “I’ve always had my doubts. Am I crazy? Am I seeing something that only I see? But I don’t think I’m crazy,” Lee said with a laugh. “With 3-D, it’s like seeing a baby vs a sophisticated artist. You have to let this baby grow up.” George C. Scott baited Lee Remick in the 1959 film “Anatomy of a Murder.” The sensor issue was a little different back then. Columbia Pictures 1959
Mick LaSalle writes in his latest DVD review of the 1959 film “Anatomy of a Murder” about a conversation between director Otto Preminger and William F. Buckley about censorship in the film.
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As I recall, George C. Scott’s use of the word “underpants” as a prosecutor in the trial scene was a matter for censorship.
I wonder how that provocative “nickname” is judged by today’s standards. How far have we come or, perhaps, how far have we retreated, in half a century?
I won’t pretend to know what Aidin Vaziri was thinking, though I’ve learned to read it with a smile rather than a grimace. Perhaps, though, to Steve Raucher’s claim that the “Oscars got it right” for Springsteen’s 1994 win for “Streets of Philadelphia” (Letters, April 15), the answer is that the Oscars didn’t get it right because of Neil Young’s “Philadelphia,” which played hauntingly and affectively