Angelina Jolie told fans that her favorite Chinese director is Ang Lee in an interview with the Associated Press. Jolie was in China to promote her film, Maleficent. The response caused an eruption on Chinese media and social media. Ang Lee is not from Mainland China, and her statement was taken as a political stance about Taiwan.
Jolie did not say that her statement was politically related. Her original statement goes: “I am not sure if you consider Ang Lee Chinese, he’s Taiwanese but he does many Chinese-language films with many Chinese artists and actors, and I think his works and the actors in his films are the ones I am most familiar with and very fond of.”
There is an underlying political issue being conflated with Jolie’s statement. It’s about whether or not Taiwan should be under Mainland China’s governance. Taiwan’s recent large-scale protests center on maintaining independence from Mainland China. Jolie hasn’t commented on whether her statement was related to the issue.
Lee has won numerous awards for his work. He directed Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Lust, Caution, and Life of Pi, among others. He’s won many awards for his films. It’s no surprise that he’s also won the admiration of Jolie. Jolie’s support met positive response with Taiwanese people.
Maleficent is currently the number 2 movie in Taiwan, and is scheduled to open in Mainland China on June 20.