Art and culture

Around the World on a Tour of Ang Lee Movie Locations

A world tour of locations that became stunning backdrops in movies by award-winning Taiwanese director Ang Lee

Born in Taiwan and educated in the US, director Ang Lee is one of the most versatile filmmakers around. With his latest film, Gemini Man starring Will Smith, joining the inflight entertainment in January, we take a look at some of the most memorable filming locations in this cinematic traveller’s career.

Gemini Man

Cartagena, Colombia

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Lee said in interviews that finding beautiful locations for his latest movie Gemini Man was one of his top priorities. It paid off, given Lee’s choice of a high frame rate that gives his images amazing clarity. In the film’s most impressive action scene, Will Smith and a digitally created version of his younger self roar through the picturesque seaside city of Cartagena in a motorcycle chase. The chase ends in front of the Teatro Adolfo Mejia, a 100-year-old theatre that offers year-round concerts, film screenings and drama performances.

Eat Drink Man Woman

Wistaria Tea House, Taipei, Taiwan, China

A humorous portrait of a family caught between tradition and modernisation in contemporary Taipei, the final film in Lee’s Father Knows Best trilogy remains one of his most popular. The scene in which Jia-Chien (Jacklyn Wu) meets a male co-worker is filmed inside this elegant tea house, where Lee and his co-writer Wang Hui-ling also held a 12-hour script meeting for the film.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Hongcun, Huangshan, China

Near the end of Lee’s Oscar-winning martial arts drama, a brash young female warrior (Zhang Ziyi) leads a master swordsman (Chow Yun-fat) on a physics-defying chase, bouncing off water and leaping to the tops of trees. Some of the chase was filmed at the centuries-old village of Hongcun: the homes in the village date back to the Ming and Qing dynasties, and the gorgeous natural environment adds to its Insta-appeal.

Sense and Sensibility

Saltram House, Devon, United Kingdom

Ang Lee’s 1995 version of Sense and Sensibility remains one of the best film adaptations of Jane Austen’s works. In the film, after a death in the family the Dashwoods are forced to leave their home and move into a cottage on the grounds of Barton Park. Standing in as their old mansion is Saltram House (pictured), while their new home is played by Efford House on the Flete Estate, both in southwest England.


San Francisco, USA

Credit: Hulk Movie/Alamy Stock Photo

In Lee’s visually audacious and under-appreciated take on the green giant, the Hulk escapes an army compound and lands in San Francisco, where he is finally subdued on Telegraph Hill, overlooking downtown San Francisco. One of the most popular filming locations in the city, the neighbourhood also stars in Basic Instinct, The Presidio and 1998’s Dr Dolittle.

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