Author Topic: "Lust, Caution" (Ang Lee's Next Film)  (Read 14392 times)

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Ang Lee's New Film, "Lust, Caution"
« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2007, 11:01:17 am »
Knowing Ang Lee, I'm sure it will be a good film.  But, topic-wise, it honestly doesn't sound all that appealing to me personally.

It's definitely interesting to see how much controversy this film is already generating.
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Offline MaineWriter

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Re: Ang Lee's New Film, "Lust, Caution"
« Reply #21 on: August 30, 2007, 12:48:36 pm »
From EuroNews:

The 64th Venice Film Festival has got underway in Italy, with a screening of the British film "Atonement". Based on the 2001 best-selling novel by Ian McEwan, the film is hot favourite to win the festival's top prize, the Golden Lion. The winners will be revealed during the course of a gala event on September the 8th.

British actress Keira Knightley stars in the film along with actor James McAvoy, fresh from his success in the critically acclaimed "Last King of Scotland".

Later today, the Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee, who won the Golden Lion in 2005 for his film "Brokeback Mountain", will present his latest thriller "Lust, Caution." A complex tale of sex and spying in 1940's Shanghai, the film is based on a short story by revered Chinese writer Eileen Chang. It stars Asian cinema icon Tony Leung opposite newcomer Tang Wei.

British actor-director Kenneth Branagh will also attend the premiere of his film "Sleuth" a remake of a 1972 thriller and starring Sir Michael Caine along with Jude Law.
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Offline MaineWriter

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Re: Ang Lee's New Film, "Lust, Caution"
« Reply #22 on: August 30, 2007, 12:57:03 pm »
And another news story:


By  AFP

The tense drama set in Shanghai in the 1940s stars novice actress Tang Wei as a resistance spy who slowly, creepily, lets her target, a powerful political figure played by Tony Leung, "worm his way into her heart."

Based on a short story by popular Chinese writer Eileen Chang and set in Japanese-occupied Shanghai in the 1940s, the film's many sex scenes are as explicit as they are emotionally ambiguous.

"I found some dark and obscure elements to adapt for my film" from a story that runs to only 28 pages, said Lee, whose "Brokeback Mountain" took the Golden Lion here in 2005 as well as the best director award at last year's Oscars.

Also on Thursday's menu is British director Kenneth Branagh's "Sleuth" starring Michael Caine and Jude Law, with a crisp screenplay by English playwright and Nobel literature laureate Harold Pinter.

The two-man remake of the 1972 Joseph L. Mankiewicz film, in which Caine played the part now taken by Law, is an exercise in second-guessing and sang froid -- or what Branagh described as a "short, sharp, concentrated boxing match."

It's Law's second attempt at filling Caine's shoes, following his starring role in the remake of the 1966 comedy "Alfie" about a Cockney womaniser's comeuppance.

But "Sleuth" can hardly be considered a remake, Caine said. "This is a completely different take, much more severe."

He added: "Once Harold was on board, we were in whole new world. The simplicity of the idea is such that you can take it anywhere."

Wednesday's opening gala of the festival, which runs through September 8, saw the world premiere of British psychological drama "Atonement" with Keira Knightley and James McAvoy.

Based on the best-selling novel by Ian McEwan, the movie plays out the consequences of an impressionable girl's tragic misreading of events at an upper-class English home in the years leading up to World War II.

Despite a preponderance of British and US entries this year -- totalling nine of the 22 candidates for the Golden Lion in the main competition -- the festival also boasts a sizeable Asian contingent.

Festival director Marco Mueller let drop Wednesday that the "surprise film" to be screened next week will be from an Asian country, specifying only that it is a country other than China, South Korea or Japan.

"Only from Asia do we have that special kind of present," Mueller said, adding: "It will be a brand new film -- he's still mixing it -- by an Asian master."

All 22 of the films in competition will be world premieres, a feat achieved only once before -- last year.

Another 22 films will vie for prizes in the avant-garde Horizons and Horizons Documentaries categories, while 13 will be screened out of competition.

A restoration of the 1964 Sergio Leone shoot-'em-up classic "A Fistful of Dollars" starring Clint Eastwood is to be screened on Thursday.

The out-of-competition menu will later offer Woody Allen's "Cassandra's Dream," a drama set in London, "La Fille Coupee en Deux" by French veteran Claude Chabrol and a new comedy by Japanese director Takeshi Kitano, "Kantoku Banzai!" (Glory to the Filmmaker!).

Chinese director Zhang Yimou, who won Golden Lions for "The Story of Qiu Ju" (1992) and "Not One Less" (1999), will head the jury made up of directors only, as was the case with the festival's 50th anniversary.

"It's the first time I've taken part in an all-directors jury, and I have every expectation that we will work with success," Zhang said Wednesday.
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Offline MaineWriter

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Re: Ang Lee's New Film, "Lust, Caution"
« Reply #23 on: August 31, 2007, 04:42:44 pm »
A review from the film festival:

review: Se jie (Lust, Caution) (Venice 2007)     
 
Written by Boyd van Hoeij   

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Se jie (Lust Caution) film review"Movies are for people with time to kill," says the main character of Ang Lee’s new film Se jie (Lust, Caution), and in this particular case this means killing two-and-a-half hours, though there are certainly worse ways to pass the time. The Taiwanese director’s adaptation of a novella by Eileen Chang is an uncompromising and incredibly seductive piece of filmmaking that is too long but has so many good elements going for it that it is hard to really care that on certain points the director seems to have thrown caution to the wind. Acting and technical credits are more than first-class and newcomer Wei Tang, starring alongside veteran Tony Leung, is simply riveting. Appropriately marketing this film -- almost certainly the most explicit Chinese-language film this side of porn ever made -- will be a challenge, though, ideally, Lee’s reputation should do the heavy lifting in that department.A prize at the Venice Film Festival, where it plays in Competition, could be a first push to wider recognition.
 
Set during the Japanese occupation of China in the early 1940s, Se jie plays out between Hong Kong and Shanghai and centres on the character of Wang Jiazhi (Wei Tang), a young student who gets caught up in a resistance cell formed by the patriotic theatre group she was part of. Her big mission: infiltrate the household of Mr Yee (Tony Leung), a high-placed official who openly collaborates with the Japanese occupiers. The goal: put everything into place to have the traitor killed in cold blood. The means: using her womanly wiles.
 
One can imagine this scenario going various ways (Verhoeven would have made an interesting film out of this and his Zwartboek  / Black Book shares more than a few elements with this film), but Lee has chosen to approach it in the only way he knows: searching for the humans behind the dangle of story threads and plot twists. Se jie is a thriller and has many chilling moments, but the real danger comes about only because we care for the characters. No jumps from the dark or sudden explosions here.
 
The sure-to-be-talked-about explicit sex scenes only make an appearance well after the mid-point of the film, when Lee has had more than enough time to invest the two characters with so much emotional baggage that it is impossible to only consider the bodily acts that occur between them. It is one of the few instances in the history of cinema that pinpoints the complicated wrangle between love -- or hate -- and lust that occurs during lovemaking with such precision. Of course for a spy in bed with the enemy, there can never be no such thing as complete and utter nakedness, whatever the state of undress. The film nicely plays with these contrasts of love and lust, caution and abandon, weaving a web of complex emotions that typifies so many of Lee's films.
 
Lee also makes a point of playing up other erotically charged moments that happen when the characters are fully dressed, from their very first glance at one another at a mahjong table to an absolutely chilling moment in which they barely touch hands in a Japanese brothel. This charge is only really present when the two lovers have fallen in lust, and up until that point the film meanders.
 
This early section is too leisurely set up to make any direct impact, though it does sketch all the main characters extremely well, including Mrs Yee (Joan Chen) and Kuang Yu-Min (Lee-hom Wang), the theatre director who persuades Tang’s character to go undercover and who seems to be interested in her himself as well. Shifts back and forth in time seem arbitrary at first but make sense in retrospect, while Lee, more so than in his previous films, pays explicit homage to many films from the past, especially those from the period in which Se jie is set and which served as an obvious first template for this film.
 
The major discovery of the film is Wei Tang, who is completely believable as the shy young girl-come-professional seductress, and Leung once again shows why he is not only considered one of the world’s best actors. Technical aspects of the film are all extremely polished, including costume and production design (sometimes a little heavy on the CGI in the cityscapes), Rodrigo Prietos’ stunningly lit cinematography that plays with light and shadows throughout the film and Alexandre Desplat’s lush period score that is perfectly suited to the old-fashioned yet contemporary tone of the film.
 
This film was screened as part of the 2007 Venice Film Festival.
 
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Offline MaineWriter

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Re: Ang Lee's New Film, "Lust, Caution"
« Reply #24 on: August 31, 2007, 04:47:23 pm »
And here is the review from Variety:

Too much caution and too little lust squeeze much of the dramatic juice out of Ang Lee's "Lust, Caution," a 2½--hour period drama that's a long haul for relatively few returns. Adapted from a short story by the late Eileen Chang, tale of a patriotic student -- who's willing bait in a plot to assassinate a high-up Chinese collaborator in Japanese-held WWII Shanghai -- is an immaculately played but largely bloodless melodrama which takes an hour-and-a-half to even start revving up its motor.

A handful of explicit sex scenes (in the final act) have earned pic an NC-17 rating in the U.S., where it goes out in limited release Sept. 28. But beyond the notoriety of a Chinese-language picture with full-frontal female nudity, pic lacks the deep-churning emotional currents that drove Lee's "Brokeback Mountain" and his best other works. B.O. in the West looks to be modest, once the initial ballyhoo has died down.

Story opens in Japanese-occupied Shanghai in 1942, at the home of Yee (Hong Kong's Tony Leung Chiu-wai), head of the secret service of the collaborationist Chinese government, and his wife (Joan Chen). One of Mrs. Yee's mahjong partners, swapping gossip over the tiles, is the much younger Mrs. Mak (Tang Wei), the half-Cantonese, half-Shanghainese wife of a businessman who was recently in Hong Kong.

As Yee returns from work and passes by the mahjong table, it's clear there's something between him and Mak, though neither one lets their façade slip. Later, Mak makes a coded phone call to Kuang Yumin (U.S.-born pop star Wang Leehom), who says "the operation can start."

After this lengthy 15-minute intro, largely occupied by idle chatter around the mahjong table, the film flashes back four years to Hong Kong to show who Mak really is: Wang Jiazhi, a first-year university student whose family fled Hong Kong for the U.K. Through her friend Lai (Chu Tsz-ying), Wang falls in with a patriotic, anti-Japanese group that is mounting a play to fund their activities.

Leader of the group is the passionate Kuang, who hears that Yee, a high-ranking collaborator with the Japanese, is in Hong Kong on a recruitment mission. Kuang hatches a plan in which Wang plays the fictional Mrs. Mak and insinuates herself into Mrs. Yee's confidence. But Mrs. Yee's cool, wily husband, though attracted to Wang, slips through the net.

Cut to Shanghai, 1941 -- a year before the opening timeframe -- and it's round two between Yee and Wang. After Wang is rehired by the resistance to continue her Mrs. Mak role, this time their liaison is far more full-on, and as lust raises its sometimes violent head, it looks as if caution may be thrown to the wind by one or both parties.

Both Leung and newcomer Tang -- whose characters are far more charismatic and attractive than in Chang's original short story -- do strike some sparks, especially in the sex scenes, which are very bold by Chinese standards. (A tamer version will reportedly be released in mainland China.) But for most of the film, the two dance around each other in conversations that don't have much electricity or sense of repressed passion -- and vitally, no sense of the real danger that Wang is courting in the game of cat-and-mouse.

Moments of either grim wit (as in the messy stabbing of a blackmailing traitor) or spry comedy (Wang getting rid of her virginity to further the cause) occasionally vary pic's tone but don't bolster the underlying drama.

Wartime Shanghai was far more realistically drawn in Lou Ye's Zhang Ziyi starrer "Purple Butterfly," which also conveyed a stronger sense of resistance and collaborationist politics. (Here, Yee's work, which involves interrogation and torture, is never shown.) Lee's '40s Shanghai, though immaculately costumed, has a standard backlot look; the Hong Kong sequences, largely shot in Malaysia, are much more flavorsome.

Tang, a Beijing drama student who's previously played in some TV series, holds her own against Hong Kong vet Leung, who suggests the cold calculation of his character without ever going much deeper. Fellow vet Chen doesn't get many chances beyond the mahjong table, while Wang Leehom, as the leader of the resistance cell, is just OK, sans much personality.

Alexandre Desplat's music injects some badly needed emotion and drama at certain points, while lensing by Rodrigo Prieto has little of the variety and atmosphere he's demonstarted on recent assignments like "Babel," "Alexander" and Lee's previous "Brokeback Mountain."

Camera (Deluxe color), Rodrigo Prieto; editor, Tim Squyres; music, Alexandre Desplat; production designer, Pan Lai; supervising art director, Olympic Lau; costume designer, Pan; sound (Dolby Digital/DTS Digital), Philip Stockton, Eugene Gearty, Drew Kunin; assistant director, Rosanna Ng; casting, Ng. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (competing), Aug. 29, 2007. (Also in Toronto Film Festival -- Special Presentations.) MPAA Rating: NC-17. Running time: 157 MIN.
 
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Offline Meryl

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Re: Ang Lee's New Film, "Lust, Caution"
« Reply #25 on: August 31, 2007, 09:13:30 pm »
Thanks for the reviews, Leslie.  Sounds like a really interesting film.  I think I'll probably like it, since films that have a leisurely exposition are usually the klnd I like, similar to reading a nice long novel.  And Ang's way with character development is unparallelled, so it's bound to be fascinating.
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Offline Kd5000

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Re: Ang Lee's New Film, "Lust, Caution"
« Reply #26 on: September 04, 2007, 09:42:42 am »
IMDB.com is reporting that the film has been censored in CHINA.  It must be upsetting to him.  At least CHina is still going to show the film.  They didn't even allow BBM to be shown in the country.
   


Ang Lee's new thriller Lust, Caution has been cut for Chinese audiences, just a week after U.S. censors gave the film a restricted rating. The Taiwanese film-maker admits Lust, Caution is "unsuitable for children" but was surprised it had fallen foul of censors in north America. Last month, the Motion Picture Association of America gave Lust, Caution an NC-17 rating, which means only adults aged 18 and over can watch the movie. Screen Daily reports explicit scenes in Lust, Caution will be censored for the Chinese audience. 
 

Offline MaineWriter

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Re: Ang Lee's New Film, "Lust, Caution"
« Reply #27 on: September 04, 2007, 10:22:45 am »
Caution Urged for Ang Lee's Tedious Lust, Caution

VENICE, Italy (Hollywood Reporter) - Ang Lee's lugubrious spy epic "Lust, Caution" brings to mind what soldiers say about war: that it is long periods of boredom relieved by moments of extremely heightened excitement.

There's a long and nasty murder scene in which several inept resistance fighters make a bloody mess of stabbing a man to death and a series of sex scenes so close to the knuckle and more lubricious joints as to appear real. No wonder the MPAA has slapped an NC-17 rating on the picture, which screened in competition at the Venice International Film Festival.

But getting to those episodes, which are of dubious merit, means enduring 156 tedious minutes watching a group of not very interesting young Chinese people learn how to fight the occupying Japanese during World War II. Needlessly long and filled with beautifully staged and filmed sequences where not very much happens, the film is unlikely to capture the word-of-mouth buzz required to overcome the handicap of its rating.

The plot is much like "Black Book," Dutch director Paul Verhoeven's tale of a young Jewish woman who sleeps with a Nazi on behalf of the resistance, though it has none of the flair of that film. In "Lust, Caution," it's an idealistic young Chinese woman named Chih-ying Chu (Tang Wei) who volunteers to become the mistress of Mr. Yee (Tony Leung), a traitor who runs the brutal secret service on behalf of the hated occupying force.

The idea is that if she intrigues him enough, he will breach his super-cautious regimen and place himself at risk so the others in Chih-ying's group can assassinate him. Kuang Yu-Min (Wang Lee-Hom), who heads the group, is handsome and noble, and also attracted to the girl, though he reveals that about three years too late.

Starting off as a theatrical troupe producing patriotic plays, they graduate to armed activity as part of a cell run by the organized resistance. They're just not very good at it. Chih-ying, however, having demonstrated onstage that she's a superb actress, takes to subterfuge like a natural-born Mata Hari.

With her shy beauty and pleasant manners, she is invited to join the mah-jongg circle of Mrs. Yee (Joan Chen) among the Chinese elite permitted to enjoy a privileged life by the Japanese. They are ladies who lunch and talk about the luxuries that they miss but are sometimes available from Hong Kong.

Chih-ying soon catches the eye of Mr. Yee and before long becomes his mistress. That's when she starts really earning her resistance pay. Mr. Yee is a brutal rapist, and their sexual encounters become sadomasochistic episodes in which the man shows a glimmer of humanity only at the point of sating his lust.

There's a fair bit of that, and it is well choreographed with lots of flesh on display, though entirely devoid of passion. The film looks gorgeous, but the plotting is clumsy and the acting is flat. It takes a long time before the idea of killing Mr. Yee gets going, and by then it appears that director Lee has lost the plot, and his laborious tale appears to have no point at all.
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Offline Casey Cornelius

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"Lust, Caution" Calgary Premiere
« Reply #28 on: September 06, 2007, 09:23:52 pm »
Lust, Caution has its Western Canadian premiere here in Calgary at the end of the month.
http://calgaryfilm.com/schedule.php?fd=977

I will definitely aim to get a ticket for the gala event - especially if there could be the slight chance that Ang Lee might show up.  He made a surprise, totally unannounced visit to Calgary to screen Brokeback for his Alberta crew in November 2005, a month before the official North American opening [about which I've posted in Movie Resources] and he has stated unequivocally his interest in returning to Alberta for pleasure and personal reasons.
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Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Ang Lee's New Film, "Lust, Caution"
« Reply #29 on: September 06, 2007, 09:30:16 pm »
That sounds really exciting Casey!  Definitely keep us posted about this event!
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