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PUSHING HANDS (1991) - Ang Lee's Chinese Classics

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  • dir. Ang Lee

  • year. 1991

  • country. TAIWAN

  • run-time. 105 mins

  • rating. 12

£6.00 (£4.50 conc.)

Doors - 6:00pm

Film - 7:00pm


First film in our Ang Lee’s Chinese Classics Season.

Released in 1992, Pushing Hands was Ang Lee’s first feature film. Together with his two following films, The Wedding Banquet (1993) and Eat Drink Man Woman (1994), it forms his "Father Knows Best" trilogy, each of which deals with conflicts between an older and more traditional generation and their children as they confront a world of change.

The story is about an elderly Chinese Tai chi teacher and grandfather who emigrates from Beijing to live with his son, American daughter-in-law, and grandson in a New York City suburb. The grandfather is increasingly distanced from the family as a "fish out of water" in Western culture. The film shows the contrast between traditional Chinese ideas of Confucian relationships within a family and the much more informal Western emphasis on the individual.

“The title of the film refers to the [pushing hands] training that is part of the grandfather's Tai chi routine. Pushing hands is a two-person training which teaches Tai chi students to yield in the face of brute force. Tai chi teachers were persecuted in China during the Cultural Revolution, and the grandfather's family was broken up as a result. He sent his son to the West several years earlier and when he could he came to live with his family with the expectation of picking up where they left off, but he was unprepared for the very different atmosphere of the West. "Pushing Hands" thereby alludes to the process of adaptation to culture shock felt by a traditional teacher in moving to the United States.”: Wikipedia

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