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Be Water

Bao Nguyen, USA, UK 2020, 105’
City Hall

There was allegedly such a crowd at the Polish premiere of Enter the Dragon that the windows at Warsaw’s Iluzjon cinema were smashed. Even if this is an urban legend, there is no doubt that Bruce Lee is one of pop culture’s greatest icons. To this day, he remains an inspiration for athletes and filmmakers (Quentin Tarantino, to name one), and there are statues of him in Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and even in the Bosnian city of Mostar. Although Lee’s adult career (he also performed as a child) lasted just a few years, he managed to change not only how martial arts are portrayed in film, making the genre more popular worldwide, but also the way in which Asians are portrayed, especially in the United States. After all, a biopic of Lee is about more than recollections from the set of The Green Hornet and Fist of Fury; it is also a story about racism, discrimination, and the breaking of social barriers. Bao Nguyen’s documentary, based on archival interviews with Lee, Lee’s own notes, and conversations with Lee’s family and friends, is a tribute to the Little Dragon on the eve of what would have been his 80th birthday.

Jakub Demiańczuk

Bao Nguyen

Bao Nguyen is an American–Vietnamese director, producer, and cinematographer. A graduate of New York University, he has taken part in the Berlinale Talents and Firelight Media Documentary Lab programs. His films have been shown at the Palm Springs, Nashville, and Miami festivals, among others, as well as Tribeca in New York. Be Water is part of ESPN’s 30 for 30 series of sports documentaries. It made its world premiere at this year’s Sundance Festival.

Filmography

2010 A Tree Falls in the Forest (doc. short)

2011 Julian (doc. short)

2015 Live from New York!

2015 Rhino Man (short)

2016 The Poll Dance (short)

2019 Where Are You Really From? (doc. short)

2019 We Gon’ Be Alrigth (doc.)

2020 Jak woda / Be Water

Cast & Crew

director Bao Nguyen
screenplay Bao Nguyen
cinematography Caleb Heller
editing Graham Taylor
music Goh Nakamura, Ton That An
producer Julia Nottingham, Bao Nguyen, Gentry Kirby, Erin Leyden, Adam Neuhaus, Jenna Anthony, Marquis Daisy
production Dorothy Street Pictures
sales Dogwoof
language English
coloration colour
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