Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Steel Gates

Author(s): Connor Campbell
Location: Carrollton, Texas

“Steel Gates"

Directed by Ang Lee
Written by Zhang Yimou
Score by John Williams

Principal Cast:

Gong Li- Karen Yang
Michelle Yeoh- Maria Chun
Andy Lau- Allen Chun
Ken Watanabe- Principal Howard Song

Tagline: “Honor or Sorrow”

Synopsis: It was a day like any other. Kathy Chun was headed for school. That day was particularly pleasant. It was the perfect temperature and the Sun was shining. Kathy checked her watch. It was 9:13; she had 2 minutes to get to school before the gates closed. She didn’t want to dishonor her family, so she ran as fast as she could. When the school came in sight, the gates had already begun to close. Kathy knew how slow those gates were and thought she could make it. She overestimated herself. She tried to squeeze through the gate. Moment’s later; she let out a blood-curdling scream. The teachers ran outside to see Kathy’s mangled corpse crushed between the gates. Kathy’s parents Maria and Allen and her aunt Karen rushed to the school. Karen went to mourn, but Allen and Maria disowned their daughter and refused to make funeral arrangements. Karen took that into her own hands. She was deeply hurt by her sister’s reaction to her daughter’s death, and so was the school’s principal Howard Song. Howard and Karen had dinner and discussed the tragedy when Karen decided to confront Allen and Maria. An argument ensued and Karen was kicked out of the home. Two days later, Kathy’s funeral took place. Maria and Allen did not attend. Karen continued to see Howard. Over time, Howard and Karen fell in love and got married. But Karen felt the need to make nice with her sister. She met with her and explained although they did not agree on Kathy’s actions but they were sisters and they should be able to get over it. Maria agreed, but Allen never forgave her. Allen threatened Karen one night and she told Howard. The next day Allen was found dead in a dumpster in downtown Hong Kong. Maria was devastated and scared. She sold her house and moved in with Karen and Howard. Karen discovered that Howard killed Allen and told Maria. They fled to Macau and reported Howard to the police. After Howard was arrested, Maria and Karen were called in for questioning. On their way back to Hong Kong, Karen insisted that they stop by Kathy’s grave. Maria walked out of the car and looked down at her daughter’s grave and cried. “I’m so sorry” she said. She walked back to the car and they drove away into the distance.

What the press would say:

China’s submission for best foreign film this year is Ang Lee’s Steel Gates. Ang Lee directs the best foreign film since Crouching Tiger (also his). This film is chilling, gritty and brave. Gong Li gives an Oscar-worthy performance as the compassionate Karen Yang. She gives you chills in this riveting performance. The scene where she confronts Michelle Yeoh’s character is phenomenal acting. Michelle Yeoh also gives a fantastic performance as the rigid Maria Chun. She really makes you want to punch her in the face, in a good way. Yet, at the end, you end up supporting her. Andy Lau gives a great performance as the bitter Allen Chun. His performance is so believable that it’s scary. Ken Watanabe gives a chilling performance as Howard Song. His sneakiness is so amazing that it’s almost like he’s speaking English and he’s a serious Oscar contender. With marvelous technical achievements and a near perfect screenplay, this is the best film I’ve seen in a long time.

Best Picture
Best Director- Ang Lee
Best Actress- Gong Li
Best Supporting Actor- Andy Lau
Best Supporting Actor- Ken Watanabe
Best Supporting Actress- Michelle Yeoh
Best Original Screenplay- Zhang Yimou
Best Foreign Film (China)
Best Editing
Best Cinematography
Best Original Score- John Williams
Best Sound Editing
Best Sound Mixing
Best Art Direction

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