Ang Lee ready to be ‘crucified’ for new film Billy Lynn’s use of 3D technology

Only a handful of cinemas in China, Taiwan and New York are equipped to show Taiwanese director’s drama about a teenaged Iraq war hero in ultra-sharp, high-resolution, high-speed 3D

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 November, 2016, 11:46am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 November, 2016, 11:46am

Oscar-winning filmmaker Ang Lee says he is preparing to be “crucified” over his latest movie because it experiments with a futuristic 3D format.

Taiwan-born Lee returned to the island to promote his war drama Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, starring newcomer Joe Alwyn, Kristen Stewart, Vin Diesel and Steve Martin, ahead of its November 11 international release.

The film tells the story of a 19-year-old Iraq war hero, Billy Lynn, who is flown back to the United States with his fellow Bravo Squad soldiers for a victory tour and to take part in a half-time show at a football game that triggers flashbacks to his trauma.

The main buzz around the film has come from its use of 3D at a high “4K” resolution, and at a speed of 120 frames per second – five times that of an ordinary movie.

The new technology is designed to produce ultra-sharp, penetrating images that virtually put the viewer into the scenes. Only a handful of cinemas in New York, Taipei, Beijing and Shanghai are equipped to show the film at its full specifications.

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Lee, 62, who is based in New York, was hailed as the “glory of Taiwan” after becoming the first Asian to win a best director Oscar for the gay cowboy drama Brokeback Mountain in 2006. He won a second best director Oscar for the 3D adventure Life of Pi in 2012. But he admits to jitters about how Billy Lynn will be received.

I’m doing drama, not fancy, dazzling action so I imagine there will be a lot of resistance ... and I am mentally preparing for this
Ang Lee

“It’s the future and we are in the exploration stage,” he said in Taipei. “For the past year or so I have been mentally preparing myself that after [it] comes out I might be criticised very badly and crucified.

“I’m doing drama, not fancy, dazzling action so I imagine there will be a lot of resistance ... and I am mentally preparing for this.”

Lee said he was comforted that the film was warmly received in Taiwan following Wednesday’s local premiere.

“I think there will be many different reactions. In the end it’s about the movie’s story and that the content and performances are touching people’s hearts,” he said.