Home International CinemaAsian CinemaChinese + Taiwanese + Hong Kong Cinema ‘Cider House Rules’ Movie & ‘Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon’: Abortion & Woman-Led Martial Arts Classic

‘Cider House Rules’ Movie & ‘Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon’: Abortion & Woman-Led Martial Arts Classic


The Cider House Rules movie with Tobey Maguire.

Lasse Hallström’s 1999 Best Picture nominee The Cider House Rules will be the next feature in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ “Great To Be Nominated” series. The somewhat controversial drama will be screened on Monday, June 16, at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

Following the screening, producer Richard Gladstein, actress Kathy Baker, Oscar-nominated film editor Lisa Zeno Churgin, and co-producer Alan C. Blomquist will take part in a discussion about the film.

Written by John Irving (from his own novel), The Cider House Rules follows a young man (Tobey Maguire) in 1940s New England, where he becomes an apprentice to an alcoholic doctor-cum-abortionist (Michael Caine). Hallström, with the assistance of cinematographer Oliver Stapleton, creates some beautifully subdued compositions that are hard to find in Hollywood productions. Missing from the film, however, is a beating heart, for Maguire is incapable of fully conveying his character’s ethical and emotional dilemmas.

Paul Rudd, who has a small but effective role as a soldier, is the one who should have been the film’s lead. Also in the cast: Charlize Theron, Delroy Lindo, Erykah Badu, Kate Nelligan, Jane Alexander, and Kieran Culkin.

As a result of its pro-“right to have an abortion” stance, The Cider House Rules offended countless right-wingers and the religiously devout who opted to focus on one incident while ignoring the story’s manifold complexities. In fact, one Catholic clergyman I know was disgusted by both the film and “Liberal Hollywood” in general. That’s the best recommendation I can give for The Cider House Rules.

The Cider House Rules earned seven Academy Award nominations, winning Oscars for Actor in a Supporting Role (Caine) and Writing – Screenplay based on material previously produced or published (Irving). The film also received nominations for Best Picture (Gladstein, producer), Art Direction (David Gropman; Set Decoration: Beth Rubino), Directing (Hallström), Film Editing (Churgin) and Music – Original Score (Rachel Portman).

Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby’s Oscar-nominated animated short When the Day Breaks will be screened prior to the feature.

Passes for part five of “Great To Be Nominated” are $30 for the general public and $25 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. Including The Cider House Rules, there are 10 films remaining in the series. A $5 discount is available for those who wish to renew their passes from parts one, two, three or four of the series. Individual tickets are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. Passes and tickets may be purchased online at www.oscars.org, by mail, in person at the Academy during regular business hours or, depending on availability, on the night of the screening when the doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Curtain time for all features is 7:30 p.m., and pre-show elements will begin at 7 p.m. The Academy is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information, call (310) 247-3600.

Photos: Courtesy of the Margaret Herrick Library



Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon with Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen, and Michelle Yeoh.

‘Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon’: Ang Lee martial arts classic

Ang Lee’s thrilling 2000 Best Picture nominee Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon – to date, the non-English-language film with the most Oscar nominations – will be the next feature in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ “Great To Be Nominated” series. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon will be screened on Monday, June 23, at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. Following the screening, visual effects supervisor Rob Hodgson will take part in a discussion about the film.

Considering that Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon is spoken in Mandarin, its ten Academy Award nominations were nothing short of miraculous. Well, almost. In any case, this Academy screening should not be missed for Lee’s mystical-adventure drama – filled with floating martial artists, elaborate costumes, magnificent sets, some solid acting, and lots of risible dialogue – must be watched on the big screen.

As a plus, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon takes a somewhat subversive route by featuring no less than three fearsome and fearless females who dominate the film. Unfortunately, reactionary Academy members, who have never been too fond of films focusing on women, opted to give the best picture Oscar to Ridley Scott’s pretentious bore The Gladiator. And to think that with a precisely measured kick or a choppity-chop hand-on-neck move, Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi, and Cheng Pei-Pei – the three quite disparate faces of fighting femaledom – could easily have turned Russell Crowe’s grunting gladiator into their own private mat. Perhaps that is what bothered the Academy’s male-centered crowd.

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon won Oscars for Art Direction (Tim Yip), Cinematography (Peter Pau), Foreign Language Film (Taiwan), and Music – Original Score (Tan Dun). In addition to its Best Picture nod (Bill Kong, Hsu Li Kong, Ang Lee, producers), the film also received nominations for Costume Design (Yip), Directing (Lee), Film Editing (Tim Squyres), Music – Original Song (“A Love Before Time,” Music by Jorge Calandrelli and Tan Dun; Lyric by James Schamus) and Writing – Screenplay based on material previously produced or published (Wang Hui Ling, Schamus, Tsai Kuo Jung).

Don Hertzfeldt’s Oscar-nominated animated short Rejected will be screened prior to the feature.

Passes for part five of “Great To Be Nominated” are $30 for the general public and $25 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. Including Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, there are nine films remaining in the series. A $5 discount is available for those who wish to renew their passes from parts one, two, three or four of the series. Individual tickets are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. Passes and tickets may be purchased online at www.oscars.org, by mail, in person at the Academy during regular business hours or, depending on availability, on the night of the screening when the doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Curtain time for all features is 7:30 p.m., and pre-show elements will begin at 7 p.m. The Academy is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information, call (310) 247-3600.

Photos: Courtesy of the Margaret Herrick Library.

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Kenny Grant -

Beth Rubino did an awesome job on this film, hats off

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