Foreword from "Taking Woodstock: The Shooting Script"

In an exclusive extract, FilmInFocus runs director Ang Lee's foreword to "Taking Woodstock: The Shooting Script," forthcoming from Newmarket Books in August.

Late in his life, Buddha gathered his disciples around him. They wanted to hear his final words of wisdom, but he wouldn’t say anything. Then he picked up a flower and showed it to them. They didn’t understand. But one of his disciples, Mahakashyapa, broke into a smile when he saw the flower. Buddha told him he was the one who understood the meaning of this “Flower Sermon,” a meaning that couldn’t be put in words, and told him he would be the first master to carry on the teachings of Buddhism.

Maybe the Buddha was among us while we were making Taking Woodstock, but we were too happy to notice. Unlike all my other movies, I myself didn’t suffer during the making of it, so I really have nothing of interest or meaning to say about it. Like most people, when I’m happy I’m not so interesting. I think, however, the film might be somewhat interesting, even though there’s nothing meaningful to be found in it. Now that the film is done, I am happy to say the screenplay already means nothing to me. The film, too, will blow in the wind for a while, and then it will be nothing, if it isn't already. But maybe all this nothing will make you smile.

—May 2009

Excerpted from “Taking Woodstock: The Shooting Script” Copyright © 2009 by Ang Lee. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of Newmarket Press,

Taking Woodstock: The Shooting Script” is available online from the Newmarket Press website and at the following online booksellers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, IndieBound and Woodstock.Com