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Lust, Caution: Ang Lee Faces His Fear

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood October 9, 2007 at 11:49AM

At Sunday's BAFTA screening for Lust, Caution, director Ang Lee explained that this particular nexus between sex and politics scared him to death, which was why he had to do it. He insisted on not cutting the 5 to 10 seconds that would have yielded an R rating. The sex scenes are intensely powerful. (And for some of us, even educational.) And they were much more frightening for Lee to execute than the two gay cowboys in Brokeback Mountain, he said.
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Lust_cautionAt Sunday's BAFTA screening for Lust, Caution, director Ang Lee explained that this particular nexus between sex and politics scared him to death, which was why he had to do it. He insisted on not cutting the 5 to 10 seconds that would have yielded an R rating. The sex scenes are intensely powerful. (And for some of us, even educational.) And they were much more frightening for Lee to execute than the two gay cowboys in Brokeback Mountain, he said.

The movie is about the possibility that a specific political situation would create two people who are on the one hand enemies--literally seeking to kill one another--and on the other passionately in love. The film is very Chinese, very period, very beautiful, very sexy and very long. And the acting by Tony Leung and newcomer Tang Wei is very fine. Lee described the incredible lengths he had to go to to recreate the costumes, the sets, the aging of the tea cups. The Chinese are not known for preserving their culture, he said dryly.

Lee's native Taiwan has submitted Lust, Caution for the Oscar, beating out the Chinese, who were considering doing the same. It's strong contender in that category, as well as cinematography, art direction and costumes.

Here's a Reelz video clip on Lust Caution.

[Originally appeared on Variety.com]

This article is related to: Reviews, Genres, Directors, Romance


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.