Archive for April 10th, 2008

April 10, 2008

>If The Shining had been a romantic comedy (!), how would it be?

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I found this video a while ago and thought it would be nice to share it here. It’s all about the way one sees things, after all… isn’t it?

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April 10, 2008

>Lust, Caution (2007) directed by Ang Lee*

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The year is 1942 and the place is Shangai, China. Mrs. Mak, the young wife of a business man, participates of a table game she is not really willing to play, but she pretends she’s interested while chatting to the house’s mistress and other women. A man walks in, he’s married to the most animated lady in the table, he lives in that place. He doesn’t seem to show interest as he coldly dialogues with his wife and the guests. However, Mrs. Mak’s eyes denounce that there must be something between these two antagonic figures – herself and the almost taciturn man. But now she’s in a rush, she goes out and enters in a cafe, where she orders in english and later, makes a mysterious phone call. Who is this sophisticated young woman, after all? The answer lies in the past, by the time she was only Wong Chia Chi, a shy freshman at university who used to cry in the movie theater while watching Cary Grant in dramatic/romantic roles. At university she’ll meet a troupe of young actors who uses stage plays as a way to inspire patriotism in the chinese audience (it’s WW2). In her first time on stage, Wong is a natural.


It won’t take long until her new friends tell her about a plan of assassinating a top japanese collaborator, and therefore, a nation’s traidor, and how they would like her to join them. Therefore, she adopts a false idendity, becoming an off stage performer as she masks herself with a seductive look that conceals her post-adolescent features. Her phisical disguise allows her to change among different personalities with confidence, something that won’t be sufficient in order to succeed the plan, ingenuously elaborated from the beggining to its end by everyone else. Amateur actress, amateur spy, one could say. Perhaps all her decisions, from the first meeting with the other young students to the final twist, lies again in her past, in the fact she never really knew genuine love. One offers it to her, but it’s nevertheless too late. The non-gratuitous sex scenes become also a key to comprehend the young woman’s personality, her motivations and attitudes, especially towards the end. And what to say on Ang Lee‘s direction? His camera angles reminded me of the ones from Wong Kar Wai sometimes, as he focuses in small details that hint to the feminine in various moments. The camera who alternates quickly and curiously among each woman’s face as they speak, the red polished nails that manipulate cards during a game, the lipstick mark after tasting coffee… Tang Wei is fragile, strong and subtitle in her first film role, as it should be. She never shakes in the presence of the veteran Tony Leung, whose character is a mystery I couldn’t yet decipher, after all, did he really love that woman?

*Text meant to be posted on march 22, days before the film festival started. Other films seen in march that deserve a few words and haven’t yet be commented: Into the Wild, No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood.