Ang Lee responds to doubts over hi-res ‘Billy Lynn’


Award-winning director Ang Lee responded to the mixed reviews of his new film “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” which premiered in Beijing on Sunday.

Ang Lee speaks at a press conference to promote “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” in Beijing, Nov. 6. []

“Billy Lynn” is the first full-length narrative film shot in 4K, native 3D at the ultra high rate of 120 frames-per-second, which has been dubbed by some industry insiders as the “future of cinema.”

“I just wanted to see what it would look like,” Lee said. “The ultra high clarity will make you feel that as if the actors are standing right in front of you, acting. It is so real.”

However, the film didn’t get unanimous praise after its premiere at the New York Film Festival on Oct. 14. Erin Whitney from ScreenCrush said in his review that “Lee’s intimate visual style brings us closer to the rawness of his characters, but the realistic look exposes the artifice of filmmaking,” while Mike Ryan from wrote, “The more realistic everything looked, the faker everything became. I’m glad Ang Lee tried, but I hope he decides against this in the future.”

But Lee didn’t think there’s any gap between the technology and content of his film.

The director appealed to audiences and media members to break traditional movie viewing habits and have an open mind to new filming techniques.

“Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” is based on Benjamin Fountain’s 2012 novel. The story is told from the point of view of 19-year-old private Billy Lynn, who, along with his fellow soldiers in Bravo Squad, has been hailed as a hero and brought home for a victory tour after a harrowing Iraq battle. Through flashbacks, culminating at the spectacular halftime show of a Thanksgiving Day football game, the film reveals what really happened to the squad — contrasting the realities of the Iraq conflict with America’s celebration back home.

Joe Alwyn, Vin Diesel, Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Steve Martin, and Chris Tucker are among the cast. Lee’s own son Mason Lee also acts in the film, who said his father “treated him like any other actor” during the filming.

The China’s premiere was attended by Lees and Joe Alwyn, as well as guest celebrities including famous actress and filmmakers such as Xu Zheng, Feng Xiaogang, Fan Bingbing, and Zhang Ziyi, the latter of whom had previously starred in Lee’s award-winning “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”

“Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” will hit Chinese screens on Nov. 11, in various formats of 4K/3D/120fps, 2K/3D/120fps, 3D/60fps and 3D/24fps. The top experience of 4K/3D/120fps will be only available in sole two theaters on Chinese mainland — one in Beijing and the other in Shanghai, with the prices as high as 320 yuan (US$47.23) per ticket.

Source: Xinhua/

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