Category Archives: Ang lee

“Lust, Caution”: Lots of lust but no love? Banned from the Oscars, and Too Chinese?

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While Ang Lee’s film Lust, Caution has been getting great reviews and doing extremely well at the box office internationally and in limited release in the states – there’s been a lot happening lately with the film – and not all of it great either – some of it seeming to have more to do with politics and being myopic than anything else.

Too Chinese?

Apparently the head of the production company that made Lust, Caution is weary of expanding the film in the U.S. because it’s a “very Chinese” film. Huh?

So martial arts and anything having to do with geisha is O.K. – but an art-house romantic war epic featuring Asian people might be too much for the general public to handle. 

Banned from the Oscars

Even though Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon had few Taiwanese crew and actors associated with the film, it was still allowed to be nominated for the U.S. Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film category – but this year – Taiwan’s Foreign Language Film Award Selection Committee was notified that Lust, Caution would not be allowed to compete in the category because it didn’t have enough Taiwanese crew working on it who were in “lead positions”.

So the director – famed director Ang Lee – and the screenwriter who are both Taiwanese aren’t “lead position” enough? Because one of the actors is from mainland China (Tang Wei) and they had a Mexican cinematographer and French composer it still can’t be a Taiwanese film? 

It isn’t foreign language enough?

No Hong Kong Film Awards – Mostly

It seems HK is no different either. Because there weren’t enough people from Hong Kong working on the film – versus mainland China – the movie won’t be eligible for numerous awards, however it still will be able to compete for the best Asian film category at least – which allows any Asian film, regardless of how many people from HK worked on it.

Ang Lee and Lust, Caution make best film debut ever

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Image from ent.sina.com.cn

NC-17 rating? No problem.

In fact – that may have even helped the Ang Lee/Tony Leung Chiu Wai movie have the best debut ever for an exclusive opening of a foreign-language movie.

Read more from varietyasiaonline.com

Lust, Caution wins Best Picture, Real Sex Scenes, Lee booed, and Asian Dominance?

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 The Ang Lee film Lust, Caution came away with the Golden Lion award for Best Picture from the Venice film festival. Here’s a snippet from the NY Daily News write-up:

Ang Lee’s sexually explicit spy thriller Lust, Caution won the Venice Film Festival’s top award yesterday, two years after he captured the same prize here with Brokeback Mountain.

Lust, Caution has been given an NC-17 rating in the United States, banning viewers under 17. The explicit, sometimes violent sex scenes between stars Tang Wei and Tony Leung were a major talking point in Venice.

Accepting the prize yesterday, Taiwan-born Lee said he was dedicating his prize to Ingmar Bergman, the Swedish director who died in July at age 89.

Real Sex? 

According to different reports in Reuters and Rednet Lee intimated that some of the sex scenes were in fact real between Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Tang Wei – but what does that mean and to what extent? News clips from people there only go so far as to say he intimated the reality of the scenes – but never quote his actual words.

Lee Booed and a surprise winner?

While many are reporting on Lee’s win, there are also reports that he was either booed by reporters when accepting the award and that it was a shock as well.

From the Washington Post:

Venice ends on sour note with shock film choices

VENICE (Reuters) – Ang Lee has walked off with another top award at the Venice film festival, and surprised critics are wondering how he did it. “Lust, Caution” (“Se, Jie”) won the Golden Lion late on Saturday, two years after the Taiwanese director scooped the big prize for gay cowboy drama “Brokeback Mountain.”

From Reuters:

In 2005 he was a popular winner. In 2007 he was not.

Reporters and critics in the press room, watching the closing ceremony beamed live on a big screen, booed when Lee’s Golden Lion was announced, and again, more loudly, when Hollywood star Brad Pitt was named best actor.

“In all of the pre-award speculation, nobody had thought about Ang Lee’s film, not even for one of the lesser awards,” Natalia Aspesi wrote in La Repubblica newspaper on Sunday.

At a post-verdict news conference, jury president Zhang Yimou offered no explanation of the panel’s decision to give the Golden Lion to Lee’s film.

Reviews of “Lust, Caution” were generally negative, arguing that at 156 minutes it was much too long. The slow narrative, set in World War Two Shanghai, is punctuated by explicit and sometimes violent sex which Lee hinted was real.

Asians win past 6 of 10 Best Picture awards at Venice

Along with all of the other news surrounding the Venice film festival, it was noted that with Lee winning Best Picture this year, six out of the past ten recipients of the award have been Asian.

From Wikipedia:

1998 Così ridevano (The Way We Laughed) Gianni Amelio
1999 Yi ge dou bu neng shao (Not One Less) Zhang Yimou
2000 Dayereh (The Circle) Jafar Panahi
2001 Monsoon Wedding Mira Nair
2002 The Magdalene Sisters Peter Mullan
2003 Vozvrashcheniye (The Return) Andrey Zvyagintsev
2004 Vera Drake Mike Leigh
2005 Brokeback Mountain Ang Lee
2006 Sanxia haoren (Still Life) Jia Zhangke
2007 Se, jie (Lust, Caution) Ang Lee

More Lust, Caution

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Here are some more roundups of recent articles on the Ang Lee movie Lust, Caution, including reviews, China versus Taiwan, censors, and Venice: