Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Finally saw Lust, Caution. Masterpiece!
Can't understand why Western critics panned it. New York Times said it is just "a sleepy, musty period drama". Village Voice called it a soap opera, that it is neither sexy nor thrilling. Is the blindness limited to American critics? Did it win the Golden Lion because of Chang Yi-mou?
The mind boggles. Is it because they are unable to appreciate the film's ambiguities, the fact that one is never sure about the characters and their intentions? Mr. Yee is not your typical villain, nor is Wang what one expects of a patriotic heroine. Up until the end she remains an enigma. When the Lee-hom character turns to look at her, she refuses to turn his way, but instead stares straight ahead , as if to confront her own mortality. During their first love-making scene, Yee ravishes her violently, almost raping her. But Ang Lee ends the scene with a shot of her lying alone in bed, a half smile on her face. Is she savouring the experience, or glad that she's finally succeeded in seducing him? The film is full of these wonderfully suggestive moments.
Ang Lee has taken Eileen Chang's sparsely written novella and managed to craft a purely cinematic masterpiece out of it, once again proving that he is one of the greatest film directors today.