Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon the Film, Documentaries Essay
Excerpt from Essay :
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
The film, documentaries and the last docudrama are exceptional production pieces by notable directors and producers. Crouching tiger-hidden dragon defies the usual mantra of strength only attributed to men. Jen effectively acts as person having higher morals. The martial arts performance was exceptional, an unusual feature in Hollywood. Islam, the empire of faith is another documentary made on the rise of Islamic empire and the life of Prophet Mohammad having a great impact on establishment of religion. 'Gandhi' also remains an unquestioned production classic that eloquently portrays Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the unquestioned leader of India. The film sheds light on Hinduism as a religion and its faith and dogmas. Lastly, Kundan is a docudrama based on life of Dalai Lama. 'Kundan' might not have justified the stature of Buddhism in history of mankind but the piece of production remains an earnest effort on part of Martin Scorcese to present valuable production on Buddhist religion.
1- Crouching Tiger-Hidden Dragon
The film 'crouching tiger-hidden dragon' is based in the region of Qianlong emperor and displays Chinese Wu Xia that means Chinese marital arts (Chan, 2004). Wu Xia is common in other Asian countries as well such as Han, which means Korea.Based on Wudang fighting style, the most grossing foreign film in the U.S., the end of the film is perceived to be tragedy where the heroine Jen embraces immortal death just to be together with Lo, the desert bandit. However, it was only a partial tragedy as both Lo and Jen were to reunite in Gobi Desert, the largest Asian desert in Northeastern part of China (Chan, 2004).
The characteristics of superhero in this film are those that represent chivalry (Driver & Ray, 2004) referring to courage and bravery of women and thus challenge patriarchic norms in society. Irrespective of gender, the hero/superhero has to be brave. Mu Bai, the acclaimed Wudand warrior whose master was killed by Jade Fox takes revenge at the just before the end of the film by displaying although he had left fighting by handing over his sword to his friend Sir Te who lived in Peking, that was the official name of Beijing in the era that film was based on (Peking.org, n.d.).
The new thing about China in the new millennium is that the country despite advancing in technology and world economy is still rooted from the base to ideologies such as Taoism, which means the path of eternal principle of living life (Chan, 2004). This symbolism was portrayed by Jen as she despite having power and sword art chose a life that was based on principle. This philosophy is also adhered and propagated by Confucianism, a philosophical framework of spending life based on morality and ethics.
From China's point-of-view, the highlights of Beijing Olympics were that Wushu was added as a martial arts game in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. There was plenty of acclaim for the Chinese martial arts and its induction as a proper game in the Olympics. It was China's fantasy, which means a lifelong desire to be recognized, came true in Beijing Olympics.
2- Islam: Empire of Faith-Summary of Religion and basic tenets
Islam is based on five basic pillars and all of its teachings, based on the Holy book of Muslims Quran and lifelong teachings and hadith that means traditions of Prophet Mohammad (Esposito, 1998). The basic belief around which the five pillars as well as the whole foundation of religion are based is twofold. Firstly, God is only one and it is God that needs to be worshipped. Mohammad is the last prophet of God and after Him there is will be no prophet descended on Earth. The five pillars are:
1- Shadah that means declaring that God is one and absolute and does not share lordship with any other.
2- Prayer (Salat) of five times each day is obligatory on each practicing Muslim.
3- Charity (Zakat) is also an obligation to be paid to the poor and to be collected from those people who qualify financially for imposition of Zakat on them.
4- Fasting (Som) is the keeping of fast in the holy month of Ramazan.
5- Pilgrimage (Hajj) to the holy land of Meccais the fifth pillar of Islam.
Holy dates and sacred practices in Islam: There are many holy occasions celebrated in Islamic calendar, a lunar calendar
that starts from 622 AD, the year that Prophet Mohammad migrated to Medina from Mecca also known as the year of Hijrat (Bowker & Bowker, 1997).
Important dates in Islamic calendar are as follows:
• Ramadan: Ramadan is the ninth lunar month of Islamic calendar. It is also included in the five pillars of Islam.
• Eid al-fitr: Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated as a gift from God after 29 or 30 fasts in the month of Ramadan. It is celebrated for three consecutive days falling after the month of Ramadan (Bowker & Bowker, 1997).
• Mawlid al-Nabi: This is the 12th date of the month of Rabia-ul-Awwal. This is the third month of Islamic calendar. It is not obligatory as in case of Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha.
• Muharram: This is the first sacred month of Islamic calendar in which Grandson, Imam Husain, of Prophet Mohammad was martyred in Iraq. This month is very sacred for Muslims as they observe it with grief. The 9th and 10th of Muharram are specifically mourned by Shia sect of Muslims, a sect that believes that it was Ali, the son in law of Prophet Mohammad who were to be Caliph after Abu Bakar, the first Caliph of Islam and who was made Imam, known as prayer leader while Prophet Mohammad was ill during his last days.Sunnis also mourn the Moharram but they are the followers of tradition and have significant difference in terms of jurisprudence as compared to Shias (Glasse & Smith, 2003).
• Eid al-Adha: The celebration is second in the year after Eid-ul-fitr and is celebrated in the month of Dhul Hijjah after the performance of Hajj, the holy pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.
Sacred places in IslamMasjid al Haram, Mecca: In the heart of Masjid (Mosque) al Haram is the most holy place of Muslims; the Kabaadefined as the direction towards which Muslims face towards while praying five times a day. Kabaa was built by Abraham.
Masjid Nabwi, Medina: The mosque is second most sacred place in Islam. It also includes the mausoleum of Prophet Mohammad.
Reaction to the documentary
The direction, screenplay, and presentation of the documentary were beautiful and compelling. The commentary by Kingsley was captivating due to his appeal of voice and pitch. The documentary succinctly summarizes the rise and birth of world's second largest religion at the hands of Prophet Mohammad. However, the documentary is more about the Islamic Empire or what one can call the rise of Muslim rulers. Except the rise and up to the part of Prophet Mohammad's death the documentary is good but after that it misses key links such as the role of Mystical traditions and Sufisknown as the Islamic saints in Islamic history as they have converted more non-Muslims to Islam than any other formal Islamic theologians. One aspect that might be missing to some viewers is that theological differences were not elaborately discussed. There is also little explanation about Sharia, the code of legal conduct according to Quran.
3- Gandhi-Summary of religion and basic tenets (HINDUISM)
Hinduism is the dominant religion of the Indian subcontinent and Hindus are the followers of this religion. Though the religious followers are believed to have the concept of multiplicity in Gods, Brahman is the ultimate reality and God, so supreme that the word God is not sufficient to describe the concept. However, the main difference in Hinduism and Islam is that the followers of former believe in multiplicity of Sakara, defined as forms in which God can exist even as a Goddess (Fowler, 1997).
The main sects within Hinduism are Shaivism, the followers of Hinduism that believe Lord Shiva to be the supreme God.Vaishnavism is another main sect of Hinduism that follows Supreme Lord Vishnu as God and follows the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu and ?rautaSamsara is another concept in Hinduism that distinguishes it from other religions that means that after each life or the first life, human beings turn into other forms of life, referring to the cycle of incarnation (Fowler, 1997). Another main element is the distinction in formation of individual that is composed of Jivatman, the personal self of an individual comprising of sum of all characteristics and Atman is the unchangeable self of an individual coming from Brahman. Atman does not undergo cycle of incarnation. Another particular aspect of Hinduism is the Rg Vedathe Aryan scripture (Fowler, 1997; 19) on which the class system of Hindus is established.
Main holidays Deepavali: Popularly known as 'Divali', this is a five day festival starting on 13th day of Krishna paksha, in English that means dark night. In the Hindu calendar, it takes place in…
Sources Used in Documents:
Bowker, J. & Bowker, D. (1997). World religions. Dorling Kindersley.
Chan, K. (2004). The Global Return of the Wu Xia Pian (Chinese Sword-Fighting Movie): Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Cinema Journal, 43(4), 3-17.
Conze, E. (2004). Buddhism: Its essence and development. Windhorse Publications.
Driver, M.W. & Ray, S. (2004). The medieval hero on screen: representations from Beowulf to Buffy (Vol. 56). McFarland & Company Incorporated Pub.
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