directed by Bao Nguyen
by Walter Chaw Bao Nguyen's Bruce Lee documentary Be Water is a moving hagiography of a legend immortalized by his sudden death at the beginning of his career. He reminds of James Dean in that respect, captured in amber as this eternally young punk icon for the disenfranchised, the alienated, the frustrated. He was a point of pride for Asian-Americans and became a peculiar rallying point for African-Americans, too. The pressure for me to write favourably about this film is crippling and depressing. It occurred to me not to review it at all. Bruce Lee's legacy is complicated. He was someone I lionized when I was a kid. Slight, wiry, he looked like me when I was little. That he could become something so huge in my imagination was to me extraordinary. If he, with his heavy accent and ferociously Chinese demeanour, could refuse to assimilate and yet rise, maybe this country meant what it said. You know what, though? It doesn't mean what it says.