In a career that spans over three decades, Mark Lee Ping-Bing (Taiwanese, b. 1954) has distinguished himself as one of the world’s foremost cinematographers and moving image creators. His exquisite presentation of light, shadow, and color; graceful camera movement; and arresting compositions bring cinematography’s central role in the creation of motion pictures to the forefront. Lee is a master of filming in natural- and low-light conditions, revealing dense, lustrous layers of light and darkness that provide incredible depth and space. Each frame allows viewers to immerse themselves in rich visual landscapes, whether naturalistic or highly stylized. Lee’s seductive, observant long takes do more than punctuate the passage of time; they mark subtle emotional transformations and inject distinctive rhythmic shifts. He has shot primarily on film throughout his career, and he remains among a small number of cinematographers who continue to use this medium today.
An essential partner to the directors he works with, Lee is best known for his longtime collaboration with director Hou Hsiao-Hsien. In the 10 award-winning features they’ve made together, the duo has defined a vision for Taiwan New Cinema realism—and beyond. Lee has also collaborated with such celebrated filmmakers as Wong Kar Wai, Tran Anh Hung, Tian Zhuangzhuang, and Ann Hui, and his work has won him numerous international honors, most recently a Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution at the 2016 Berlinale, for Crosscurrent. For this first American retrospective of Lee’s work, MoMA presents a diverse group of films from Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Vietnam, Japan, and France.
Organized by La Frances Hui, Associate Curator, Department of Film.