A sensuous story of nationalism and love
Occupation of a nation by foreign forces causes a tremendous impact on the psychology of its people in the occupied land, especially the younger generation. They tend to go to extremes for liberation of their motherland. Violence and killings are part of the strife, thus altering the course of their lives forever.
Further, in every occupied nation, there are people who cooperate with the invaders so that their lifestyle is sustained. Such people are always the target for assassination by the revolutionaries and ultra-nationalists - these "traitors" have to be eliminated, whatever the price might be ! This is the basic plot of the film "Lust, Caution." The film is directed by Ang Lee, the Taiwanese -American film maker of international repute.
The film begins with a game of Mah-Jongg in Hong Kong during 1942 but quickly rushes into a flashback to Shanghai of 1938 when a part of China was captured by the Japanese. There were people who cared nothing about the common people and were unaware of the burning desire of their nation to get freedom from Japan; they were too involved in their lifestyle of splurge and splendour. And there were revolutionaries, out to strike at this most important symbol of occupation.
The female lead is played by debutant Wei Tang in a very challenging role. "Lust, Caution" is among the most sensuous films ever made. The sexual scenes are very intimate and there is plenty of frontal nudity and a lot of graphic, explicit sex. Wei has risen to highest level of artistic expressions in a very bold movie.
"Lust, Caution" is a story of extreme revenge in which love and lust come abruptly and then they become the dominant aspects of the film. It also brings forth the psychology of human nature. Woman, usually, would try to save the life of her lover even if she has to sacrifice her mission, placing her own survival at risk. The man, on the other hand, would sacrifice her without a second thought, if his life or position is at stake.
The main male lead Tony Chin Wai Leung is a highly talented artist and has performed with ease and impact. But the other cast hasn't performed any less and that too, deserve full appreciation.
The film has a languid beginning but picks pace midway. It is a long film with a running time of 157 minutes. It captures the old Hong Kong and Shanghai realistically, both the physical structure and lifestyle. Films like "Lust, Caution" are never easy to make as it has to be historically correct also. Director Ang Lee should receive full credit for that.
This film is based on the book of same name written by Chinese-American author Eileen Chang. It was released in 2007. It is a Chinese language film with English subtitles. It has been nominated for many rewards and has won quite a few already!