Tiger, Hidden Dragon")
For those familiar with the Chinese characters, the link between the film's title and the storyline is graphically clear: Jen has the word for "dragon" embedded in her name, while Lo, her lover, is the tiger. Jen and Lo are headstrong, self-centered and wild - and young. In contrast, Li Mu Bai and Shu Lien respect the ideals of honor and selfless duty - acting as role models within the story, and to the larger audience.
Today, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" is a common expression which refers to the mysteries that lie below the surface of society and our everyday lives. The expression is a reminder never to underestimate our own dragons and tigers - they can spring out at any time.
The title Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon describes the structure of the film. The first part of the story is about society - it takes place in the world of law, duty and ceremony. The second part takes us beneath the surface, into the world of individuals and their relationships. The story becomes a psychological one.
As Li Mu Bai and Shu Lien pursue Jen, they are chasing their own dragons. Jen's youth and energy reminds them of the romance and freedom that neither of them have experienced. Having chosen a life of duty, Li Mu Bai and Shu Lien had to suppress their passions and desires, and most of all, their love for each other. It is always close to the surface, but if they gave into their true feelings, they would be abandoning the code of honor that shaped their lives.