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Joined: 04 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 8:28 pm    Post subject:

From the Melbourne Herald Sun,21985,23061535-2902,00.html

Ang Lee talks about his new film Lust, Caution

Neala Johnson
January 17, 2008 12:00am

Director Ang Lee is the Oscar-winning director of Brokeback Mountain, and his new Oriental epic, Lust, Caution, but he says he has no idea why he makes movies.

As Ang Lee strode to the stage to collect the Best Director award for his film Lust, Caution at last month's Golden Horse awards in Taiwan -- Asia's answer to the Oscars -- he decided it was time for a confession.

He stood before the all-Chinese audience and said: "I do a lot of interviews, hundreds of them.

"And everybody starts asking me why I do this movie. And I will come up with good answers repeatedly, but tonight I confess to you that I don't know why'."

The filmmaker laughs as he recalls his admission.

After 16 years in the thick of the game with 10 feature films and a Best Director Oscar for Brokeback Mountain, Lee is adamant he still doesn't know why he makes each of his movies.

Especially when they hurt so much.

"It's actually quite painful for me to make a movie. Something needs to burst out," he says.

"It feels like the karma of many lives that has accumulated thus far needs to burst out."

This was particularly so with Lust, Caution, a Chinese-language film based on Eileen Chang's story about the Chinese experience of World War II.

"It's the karma we share -- particularly in Asia. There's something we accumulate together," Lee says. "I found that was very strong with Lust, Caution. Karma, that's what we call it."

For 53-year-old Lee, who moved to America from Taiwan in the late 1970s to study film production, Lust, Caution was also about revisiting elements of his past and his nationality that he hadn't looked into for years. It wasn't an easy process.

"It's something I have to face off with, something in my upbringing. A lot of fear is involved," he says.

"The material, when I first read it, I just put it aside. Eileen Chang puts female sexuality alongside patriotism -- the most feminine point of view for a very macho (society) and common morality in the way we grow up. It's very controversial and that caused a lot of fear in me.

"There's something feminine about that that makes me very uneasy," he says with a laugh.

"Like, you don't do that -- I couldn't believe she wrote this story."

Lust, Caution, he says, is not only about "sexual lust, carnal lust, but lust for life, how you see life itself. That culminating in the act of love".

"And also it deals ultimately with performance -- is love a performance? Can you trust it? All those inner layers.

"But the fear, of course, challenged me. I had to face something inside me and inside my people."

Lee was finally ready to face his fears, and the timing for such a controversial film was also right on another front. Lee had just won the Oscar for Brokeback Mountain, and Chinese authorities were more amenable to having him make the film in their country.

It had been easy enough to get the government's approval for the world-beating Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon of 2000, he explains, because it was "almost like a fairy tale -- less challenging than this one".

"Lust, Caution is very challenging material for China, but I had to make the movie there."

The Oscar -- "and the accumulated effect of what I'm about, my work in the past" -- was enough to get Lee's foot, and his controversial movie, in the Chinese door.

So he made the film and though it caused a stir upon release in China, authorities didn't pull it out of cinemas. "It's still playing very well," Lee says.

But did the director actually manage to confront all those fears and come out at the end a better person?

"I hope so," he says with a laugh.

"I hope I helped the millions in Chinese audiences to do it as well, at least to face the lust and pressure of common morality and patriotism, peer pressure from the country.

"I think it does it for Korea too, even though they have to re-subtitle. I'll see what happens early next month when it's released in Japan -- it will be very interesting. America didn't care for this movie . . . We'll see."
Pour l'essentiel, l'homme est ce qu'il cache - André Malraux
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Joined: 04 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 8:31 pm    Post subject:

From the Melbourne Herald Sun,21985,23061534-2902,00.html

Ang Lee talks about getting in the Zen

January 17, 2008 12:00am
IF YOU want to get zen about filmmaking, Ang Lee is your man. The oscar-winning director of Brokeback Mountain and his latest, Lust, Caution, talks about the zone.

"Every movie is like a life. Then after you do five, six, seven movies, they start to feel like reincarnation," he says.

"But each time you go into a life, you cannot help but totally devote to it, and be a fool and slave to that habit you have. Then you just dig deeper and deeper into it and then you wake up.

"I do believe that by the time you die, if you die a good death, that you still can think about life, and you have an introspective look at life and death, and then you move on to the next life. And there will be in-between lives.

"But why are we talking about this?" he suddenly asks with a laugh.

With such an attitude, Lee must feel lucky to have lived multiple lives within this one -- each film adding another to his tally.

"Yes, I began to feel that since Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. That and the Hulk and this movie," he says.

"I felt very deeply there's a layer of my life I was touching sub-consciously, the hidden side I'm not even aware of myself."

Brokeback Mountain, however, was different. After diving deep into heavy territory with Crouching Tiger and the much-derided Hulk with Eric Bana, Lee used Brokeback to "recover from the past two movies".

"It was very relaxed," he says. "Perhaps that's the best state of making a movie. That movie was very simple, honest, and I did my best effort as usual, but I was very relaxed.

"Lust, Caution, I went deep again."

If a relaxed Lee directed Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal to such great effect in Brokeback (below), perhaps he should find another "easy" film to follow Lust, Caution?

"Maybe I should pace myself, I begin to think, if I want to go on much longer," he sort of agrees.

"I don't know if I should still keep pushing the envelope or do something like Brokeback, you know, take it like a breeze.

"Sometimes I think the material demands me -- we're the slaves to filmmaking, not the masters. Brokeback had so much love in it, it just required me to be in such a state, so maybe that's why I did that at that time."
Pour l'essentiel, l'homme est ce qu'il cache - André Malraux
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Joined: 27 Jan 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 2:35 pm    Post subject:

This is a very interesting article, trying to decode <Lust, Caution> from all the small hints in the movie. The result is a completely different story. Unfortunately, it is in simplified Chinese, and it is too long (50,000 words) to be translated.
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Joined: 28 May 2004
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Location: Japan

PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 12:13 am    Post subject:

Thank you info.

It is very interesting even though taking me very long time to read.

I think "Lust Caution" was shot with a lot of detailed information which is so easily unnoticed if you are not interested in them.
These small details give audiences some hints for hidden stories.
That's why we want to watch this film so many times.
Great film. thumbright
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Joined: 04 Jan 2008
Posts: 44
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2008 6:38 am    Post subject: In the Mood for Lust

With apologies if this has already been posted, but I had not come across it, and the picture, which seems to have been taken around Yee's second-tolast scene, as he looks out from the window of his office after Wong has saved him, is one I had not seen before.
Pour l'essentiel, l'homme est ce qu'il cache - André Malraux
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