Cinema: Year Of The Tiger

High art meets high spirits in a rapturously romantic epic that really kicks butt

From the beginning, the film seemed cursed. "We started shooting in the Gobi Desert," recalls director Ang Lee, dimpled but unsmiling. "That night the crew got lost in the desert until 7 a.m. We finally got going, and after the second shot, a sandstorm came in." Could things get worse? Ask producer Bill Kong. "The Gobi is the hottest, dryest place on earth," he says. "So each morning we lit incense for good luck. Well, we had dreadful luck--it rained sheets, nonstop, ruining our schedule. After a while one of the local people came around and said the gods must be...

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