The concept of enlightenment plays a key role in the plot development of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. A subtle reading of the film, however, can show how it offers a filmic critique of enlightenment, both as a religious concept associated with Buddhism and as a broader concept associated with mastery in virtually any form (religious, martial, political). This paper argues that Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon puts forth a novel image of this concept. According to this image, enlightenment does not produce mastery, as is conventionally thought. Instead, enlightenment paradoxically eschews mastery and critiques the knowledge that supports it.
Atchley, J. Heath
"When The Master Is Not Master: The Critique of Enlightenment in Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,"
Journal of Religion & Film: Vol. 7
, Article 4.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/jrf/vol7/iss2/4