Lust, Caution (Se, jie) (2007)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

USA/China/Taiwan/Hong Kong, 2007.  , , , , .  Story by , Screenplay by , .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by Lai Pan.  Film Editing by .   

Six university students in 1938 China decide that the tyranny of Japanese invasion and occupation will not be abided, forming a resistance group that seeks to kill Chinese collaborators. One of their members is a young woman () who joined their group, originally a theatrical troupe putting on nationalist-themed plays, because of her muted love for its leader, and it is this affection that impels her to do whatever is necessary to achieve the little band’s aims. Their particular target is a collaboration recruiter () who finds himself attracted to Wei, an attraction she agrees to exploit in order to bring her target closer to his end; this is an Ang Lee film, however, and in Lee’s stories there is never any scheme that can resist the fallibility of human emotion. The great director has followed his rugged, heartbreaking Brokeback Mountain with a gorgeously-etched period piece that simply oozes beauty from every pore, soaked in tender emotions that are then contrasted with some wonderfully sexy scenes of rough’n’tumble erotica. Wei is a knockout in the lead, mesmerizing from beginning to end, and she is ably supported by a strong cast whose supporting standout has to be as Leung’s wife. Listen for yet another exquisite score by the phenomenally talented Alexandre Desplat.

Golden Globe Award Nomination:  Best Foreign Language Film

Toronto International Film Festival:  2007

Venice Film Festival Awards:  Golden Lion; Best Cinematography

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