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Lust, Caution


Year: 2008 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 18 Cert – Not suitable for under 18s 
Subtitles: It is expected that this film is fully subtitled. 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Lust, Caution

Director: Ang Lee

Starring: Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Joan Chen, Tang Wei, Wang Lee-Hom

It is reported that the debut of Lust, Caution at the Venice Film Festival 2007 left the audience at the premiere silent for a few minutes before bursting into applause. Such a reaction became understandable when I myself saw the film and found my heart arrested and emotions manoeuvred defencelessly by the film. This film proves that Ang Lee is such a good storyteller, having transformed Eileen Cheung’s short and implicit story on which the film was based, into a breathtaking journey down to the depths of human nature and emotions. The Asian-born filmmaker has never been more explicit, as he explores the heart of desire and emotion. Yet he remains a true romantic, celebrating wholeheartedly in his film the sublime beauty of the tragedy of love.

The story of Lust, Caution is set in Japanese-occupied China in the 1940s. A young lady, Wong Chia Chi, plays the vital part in a mission of political assassination, in the seduction of the target, Mr. Yee. The trap, however, changes into a poignant love obsession combining fear, distrust, and swirling lust when the trapper and the trapped gradually became emotionally engaged with each other. The change in character of the relationship between Wong and Yee is mirrored in a sequence of astoundingly explicit sex scenes in the film. The ferocious, destructive passion exhibited in these scenes reveal the emotional fragility of both Wong and Yee, and their yearning for each other. Wong’s love for Yee leads to her fatal miscalculation of Yee’s affection for her, at the critical moment when the assassination was meant to take place.

The heart-wrenching closure of the doomed love between Wong and Yee raises questions about love, lust, and the roles of men and women. Leaving the questions to the audience, Ang Lee ends his love epic with Yee’s silent tears and memories about Wong fading away into the dark night.

Yawen Yang

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Screenings of this film:

2007/2008 Summer Term (35mm)
2007/2008 Summer Term (35mm)