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CineTributes: Lee Ping Bin

Of all the CineTributes I have planned for this month, today's is one I've been particularly looking forward to. In the past 40+ years, Lee Ping Bin has established himself as one of the foremost visual artists not only of our time but of all time in cinema. He has a Technical Grand Prize from the Cannes Film Festival, an award from the American Film Institute, an Asian Film Award and four Golden Horse Film Awards. He has been the subject of a documentary. He has a book published of his cinematography. He has, shockingly if not surprisingly, never yet been nominated for an Academy Award (though he is an AMPAS member). And it's that quality - the lack of Oscar recognition - that qualifies him for his special series, shining a spotlight on cinematographers I consider to be underrated or under-appreciated.

Lee's unparallelled use of natural and ambient light, his smooth, gliding, Ophuls-esque long takes, his rapturous use of colour - all have marked him out as an artist of both uncommon natural talent and exceptional skill. His work with Christopher Doyle on In the Mood for Love might be his best-known, and most-awarded, but it's his 35 year-long collaboration with fellow Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsiao Hsien that has been his most fruitful artistic endeavour, culminating most recently in 2015's The Assassin - to my mind perhaps the most beautiful film in history. Enjoy watching the video, because I certainly enjoyed putting it together!

Films featured

The Time to Live and the Time to Die, 1985

Dust in the Wind, 1986

The Puppetmaster, 1993

Goodbye, South, Goodbye, 1996

Flowers of Shanghai, 1998

The Vertical Ray of the Sun, 2000

In the Mood for Love, 2000

Millennium Mambo, 2001

Springtime in a Small Town, 2002

Cafe Lumiere, 2003

Three Times, 2005

Flight of the Red Balloon, 2007

Air Doll, 2009

Norwegian Wood, 2010

Renoir, 2012

The Assassin, 2015

Crosscurrent, 2016

Eternity, 2016

Looking for a Lady with Fangs and a Moustache, 2019

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