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Se, Jie

Lust, Caution

Taiwan/Hong Kong/China/USA 2007
produced by
Ang Lee, William Kong, Ren Zhong-lun (executive), James Schamus (executive), Darren Shaw (executive), Dai Song (executive) for Focus Features, Haishang Films, River Road Entertainment
directed by Ang Lee
starring Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Tang Wei, Joan Chen, Wang Lee-Hom, Tou Chung Hua, Chu Chih-ying, Kao Ying-hsien, Ko Yue-Lin, Johnson Yuen, Chin Kar Lok, Su Yan, He Caifei, Song Ruhui, Anupan Kher, Jie Liu, Wang Hui-Ling, Akiko Takeshita, Hayato Fujiki, Dou Li, Yuji Kojima, Cheng Yu Lai
story by Eileen Chang, screenplay by James Schamus, Wang Hui-Ling, music by Alexandre Desplat

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Hong Kong, the early years of the second World War: The city is not yet taken by the Japanese, but the Japanese influence is growing by the hour. In this climate, Kuang (Wang Lee-Hom), a director of patriotic plays, decides to go one step further, and, together with his theatre troupe, try to kill a Japanese collaborator for real, Mr Yi (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai) - and Jia-zhi (Tang Wei), the female lead of the troupe, is supposed to be the bait. But actually, Jia-zhi at first only agrees because of her infatuation with Kuang. Soon however she manages to evoke Yi's interest, and this way the troupe hopes to lure him away from his wife (Joan Chen) and bodyguards - but just before the plan succeeds, Yi is relocated to Shanghai. The troupe disbands almot immediately afterwards ...

Four years later, Shanghai: Jia-zhi, who has fled to the city from hong Kong, meets Kuang again, who still hasn't given up his plans to assassinate Yi, and again he wants to use Jia-zhi as bait. Jia-zhi agrees to the plan: She might not be infatuated with Kuang anymore, but she has nothing to lose but everything to win. Soon, she manages to establish contact with Yi and his wife again, and soon too, Yi becomes infatuated with her, and more and more he lets his guard down, and soon they embark on a passionate affair. Problem is, Jia-zhi starts to enjoy the attention Yi is giving her and is soon having some feelings for Yi as well, and on the day he is about to be assassinated, she whispers a warning just in time ...

Thing is, it wasn't really her who saved Yi's life, it was his own secret service which knew about Jia-zhi, Kuang and the whole troupe all the time, they just didn't tell it to Yi because of his own involvement, but now the whole troupe has been arrested and is taken to the next quarry to be executed by shots in the head - which leaves Yi alive ... but heartbroken.


Despite the contemporary publicity focussing especially on the sex scenes (which are very hot but nowhere near as explicit as the ads suggest), Lust, Caution is above all other things one thing: Big Drama. And as this it is actually pretty good, it by and large avoids all cheap clichés, the story is kept flowing so that despite its running time of over two and a half hours it has almost no lengths, the epic proportions of the story are generally played down, and supposedly trendy flashy camerawork is kept to a minimum and to scenes where it actually makes sense. Add to this a great ensmble cast and you've got one really good movie ...



review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD