Past Hokudai/Cast Entries

Saturday, September 01, 2007

lust, caution

Recently there is a very popular film in China that many foreigners have gone to the trouble of coming to Hong Kong just to watch it. Therefore, people have got a lot of doubts about what this film is about after all. Why did the film get the attention of so many people? Why could the film attract so many people's attention? Why did they long to be close to this movie? Just now, I'm going to try to solve this mystery.

"But now that he had enjoyed the love of a beautiful woman, he could die happily - without regret. He could feel her shadow forever near him, comforting him. Even though she had hated him at the end, she had at least felt something. Now he possessed her utterly, primitively - as a hunter does his quarry, a tiger his kill. Alive, her body belonged to him; dead, she was his ghost." This is from the original Lust, Caution by a famous Chinese female author, Eileen Chang, in her short novel which was published in 1950. It was very controversial at the time. The novel Lust, Caution was about a deformed love between a spy and a trainer during the Japanese occupation of China. 

There are sex scenes that are sure to be talked about but the most explicit scenes didn't appear in the novel. In the movie, the sex scenes only make an appearance in the second half of the movie. Although in the movie sex appeared more than once, the sex is nicely played with the contrasts of love and lust, caution and abandonment. I think this change is from the screenwriters James Schamus and Wang Hui Ling with help from the director, Ang Lee. 

For a majority of foreigner viewers, maybe the story is difficult to understand so they maybe don't understand the complicated feelings between the two main characters. On this point the screenwriter Schamus changed the obscure plot of the story to make the plot easier to understand. This changed made the movie more international.

Lust, Caution takes place during the Japanese occupation of China in the early 1940s and is centered in Hong Kong and Shanghai. It follows the character Wang Jiazhi, a young student who gets involved in the resistance through a patriotic theater group she was a member of. Her big mission is to infiltrate the household of Mr. Yee, a collaborator and a high official. The goal is to set up a situation where the traitor can be killed. Wang Jiazhi must use her womanly wiles.

The film takes place in backrooms and bedrooms. Wang Jiazhi is a college student and a spy. Much of the action is stolen glances, significant pauses, and innuendo-laden dialog. The movie is well over two hours with the pace varying from slow to slower. Lust, Caution is looked at as either a hypnotic, tension-filled film or boring. 
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Mirai Sozo is the School of Future Learning at Hokuriku University. The primary focus is on language (English and Chinese) and management (hospital administration, sports, and business).
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