Sunday, March 30, 2008


Director: Ang Lee
Starring: Tony Leung, Tang Wei
Synopsis: In WW2-era Shanghai, a young woman must seduce a high-profile collaborator with the Japanese in order to assassinate him.
Thoughts: This is a good film, and it's unfortunate that many people don't know anything about it other than "it's that NC-17 Chinese movie with the graphic sex scenes." It's true, the sex scenes are very graphic (the Chinese government even officially encouraged people not to attempt some of the sexual positions since they might injure themselves), but unlike most of the even the tamest sex scenes coming out of Hollywood, they're far from gratuitous (trust me, I've seen both the edited and unedited versions). This is a film about acting, and how one actor engages in a battle of wits against the other, each attempting to break through the other's mask to discover his/her true motives. It's a psychologically devastating game, and the sex scenes are the core of the struggle as each character must decide how much of themselves to reveal despite the most intimate of situations. That said, don't be scared off by what you've heard - the sex scenes only comprise about 5 minutes of the movie, and you can always skip them or rent the edited version. However, I recommend the unedited one simply because of how integral they are to the overall portrait of the characters. Though overall I wouldn't call this a "masterpiece", it's certainly a fine piece of filmmaking, with gorgeous cinematography and superb acting by the leads. At the very least, it's better than Lee's vastly overrated Brokeback Mountain.

Watch the trailer.


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