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LUST, CAUTION

Director: ANG LEE

U.S.A.-CHINA-TAIWAN-HONG KONG • 2007 SUBTITLED • COLOUR • DOLBY/DTS DIGITAL STEREO • 157 MIN


MORE POWERFUL, TABOO-BREAKING CINEMA FROM BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN DIRECTOR ANG LEE, AS HE EXPLORES SEX, POWER AND ESPIONAGE IN JAPANESE-OCCUPIED, 1940s SHANGHAI.
Amateur theatrical students led by the idealistic Kuang (Wang Leehom) hatch a plot to assassinate a member of the collaborationist Chinese government, Mr Yee (Tony Leung). Posing as the wife of a wealthy merchant, Wang Jiazhi (Tang Wei) insinuates herself into Mr Yee’s household and befriends his wife (Joan Chen) and her frivolous, mahjong-playing friends. Later, in scenes that echo Hitchcock’s Notorious, Jiazhi is encouraged by Kuang and resistance spy master Old Wu (Chung Hua Tou) to sleep with Mr Yee. However, this patriotic prostitution backfires when the cruel Mr Yee and the inexperienced Jiazhi discover the truth about themselves through lust, deceit and playacting. Yet even when their bodies are stripped bare, we sense that both are still playing a role—that each knows more about the other’s deception than they are letting on. And it is this very danger that both excites and unites them.
Derived from a deeply personal short story by Chinese author Eileen Chang, Lust, Caution is in many ways Ang Lee’s most ‘foreign’ film; yet the themes of love, deceit and betrayal would resonate in any language. The references to noir melodramas and Hitchcock also make it accessible to Western audiences. As the coldly sadistic Mr Yee, Tony Leung is far removed from the romantic characters he plays in Wong Kar-Wai films such as In the Mood for Love, while brave newcomer Tang Wei is laid bare physically, emotionally and psychologically.—Nigel Floyd.

IFI Patrons! There will be a drinks reception before the 8.00pm screening on Friday January 4th for ticket holders courtesy of Tiger Beer.

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