film: lust caution

10

“It could be the hidden side of you; I think making movies is a great way to release that. I think it is important to be honest with that, and have fun with it.”

Happy Birthday, Ang Lee!

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PHỤ NỮ NÓI CÓ = CÓ HOẶC KO

PHỤ NỮ NÓI KO = KO HOẶC CÓ

PHỤ NỮ NÓI CÓ THỂ = CÓ HOẶC KO HOẶC CÓ THỂ

PHỤ NỮ NÓI TÙY = KO ĐƯỢC TÙY

PHỤ NỮ NÓI THÍCH LÀM GÌ THÌ LÀM =  KO ĐƯỢC THÍCH LÀM GÌ THÌ LÀM

PHỤ NỮ NÓI KO CẦN MUA HOA = CẦN MUA HOA

PHỤ NỮ NÓI THÍCH ĐI ĐÂU THÌ ĐI = ĐI VỀ NGAY

PHỤ NỮ NÓI ĐI LUÔN ĐI = ĐI VỀ NGAY

PHỤ NỮ NÓI KO BIẾT = ANH PHẢI TỰ BIẾT CHỨ

PHỤ NỮ NÓI KO HIỂU = ANH PHẢI TỰ HIỂU CHỨ

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DO ĐÀN ÔNG KO HIỂU, KO PHẢI PHỤ NỮ KHÓ HIỂU

Yee wants Wang not in spite of his suspicion, but “it is precisely because he suspects her that he desires her… And so lust and caution are, in Chang’s work, functions of each other, not because we desire what is dangerous, but because our love is, no matter how earnest, an act, and therefore always an object of suspicion”.
—  Scriptwriter James Schamus invokes Zizek to explain Eileen Chang’s Lust, Caution 
4

What trap are you talking about? My body? What do you take him for? He knows better than you how to put on an act. He not only gets inside me…he worms his way into my heart like a snake. Deeper. All the way in. I take him in like a slave. I play my part faithfully…so I, too, can get to his heart. Every time he hurts me until I bleed and scream. Then he is satisfied. Then he feels alive. In the dark, only he knows it’s all real. That’s why…That’s why I can torture him until he can’t stand it any longer, and still I go on until we collapse from exhaustion. And when he finally comes inside me, I think maybe this is it. Maybe this is when you’ll rush in and shoot him in the back of the head…and his blood and brains will cover me!

Recently, I’ve been interested in Ang Lee movies. It started out with watching Sense and Sensibility, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was directed by a Taiwanese director! A person who doesn’t speak English well directing a Jane Austen classic - it is certainly an unconventional choice. I mean, it’s a pretty understandable assumption since one would think that a director must relate intimately with the story he or she is telling. If he isn’t from an English background, had little previous experience with period English stories, and had not even heard of Austen, how could he direct Sense and Sensibility? I’m guilty of thinking the same way. If I had heard someone who wasn’t brought up in Malaysia was directing a true-blue Malaysian story, I would be really sceptical too.

And so was Ang Lee when he was approached to direct it. Lee explained, “I thought they were crazy: I was brought up in Taiwan, what do I know about 19th-century England? About halfway through the script it started to make sense why they chose me. In my films I’ve been trying to mix social satire and family drama. I realised that all along I had been trying to do Jane Austen without knowing it. Jane Austen was my destiny. I just had to overcome the cultural barrier.”

I love that.

I mean, it’s the same thing about worrying over the story being relatable to modern audiences. Emma Thompson, the screenwriter, said, “You don’t think people are still concerned with marriage, money, romance, finding a partner? Jane Austen is a genius who appeals to any generation.”

And to any culture, it turns out!

I am so very tempted to make some cheesy statement about how the we are all one despite our differences and that we should all get along with rainbows and sunshine.

Ang Lee is certainly an interesting, inspiring director, having directed Chinese (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and American (Hulk, Brokeback Mountain) movies. He is a serious contender in international cinema!

At this point, I was curious to watch more of Ang Lee’s movies. This time, I wanted to watch his Chinese films.

I find it a bit silly that I never considered watching Chinese movies before. I mean, I have, but only when others had chosen to watch it and I was just there. And I would always enjoy them. The humour or the underlying themes are often very cultural and would be difficult for me to explain to someone who doesn’t have a Chinese background. Chinese movies always make me feel… homey is the best way I can describe it. It is like a guttural comfort. I relate to them on a very emotional level, which is a little odd considering my upbringing which wasn’t predominantly Chinese. I don’t even speak Chinese, except for a few phrases. But I do have an instinctual understanding of what is being said. I guess I understand that it is my roots, and I can feel it in my bones. Hearing Mandarin or Cantonese makes me think of my mum’s family. Whenever I was with them, I experienced a rather typical Chinese family life that I usually didn’t have. It reminds me of my younger childhood, before moving to the Philippines when I was 12. The “good old days”.

I guess it is also by no coincidence that my recent desire to explore my ethnic roots is to do with my grandmother’s recent passing and other family drama that has completely changed the dynamic of my mother’s side of the family. There is no going back to the good old days…

Anyway, I watched Lust, Caution (2007), Eat Drink Man Woman (1994) and The Wedding Banquet (1993). Lust, Caution was a drama (I had also chosen to watch it because of Wang Lee Hom who I know not because of his music, but how hot he was in a Wong Fu video :p), while the other two were comedies. I definitely enjoyed the comedies more, and it has a lot to do with the fact that it was made in the 90s! ALL THE WARM FEELINGS.

After watching these movies, and knowing of the other movies he is famous for, it is pretty undeniable that Ang Lee has a range. 

Lust, Caution was quite an intense movie, Eat Drink Man Woman was funny and touching, and The Wedding Banquet is coming out comedy. This. Man. Is. Amazing.