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Lust, Caution - Preview and awards win

Lust, Caution

Preview by Jack Foley

ANG Lee’s erotic espionage thriller Lust, Caution has cleaned up at the Golden Horse Film Awards, the equivalent of the Chinese-language “Oscars”.

The film, which is released in UK cinemas on January 4, 2008 and which has already won The Golden Lion at Venice, won seven awards, including best film, best director and best actor.

Lee was also recognised as the outstanding Taiwanese filmmaker of the year at the glittering ceremony in the Taipei Arena.

In addition, the film, called Se, Jie in Chinese, scooped best make-up and costume design, best original film score, best screenplay adaptation for James Schamus and best new performer for Chinese actress Tang Wei.

Upon accepting the best film prize, a clearly overwhelmed Lee said: “I’m really moved by the audience’s overwhelming support for the film in Taiwan and in Asia. I feel like I’m sharing a joint effort with them.”

Incredibly, the film is ineligible for this year’s Oscars because it is deemed to have broken the entry rules. Officials rejected the film because some of the key crew members were not local.

The film is based on the short story by revered Chinese author Eileen Chang and begins in Shanghai in 1942, as the Second World War Japanese occupation of this Chinese city continues in force.

Mrs. Mak, a woman of sophistication and means, walks into a café, places a phone call, and then sits and waits. She remembers how her story began several years earlier, in 1938 China.

She is not in fact Mrs. Mak, but shy Wong Chia Chi (Tang Wei). With WWII underway, Wong has been left behind by her father, who has escaped to England.

As a freshman at university, she meets fellow student Kuang Yu Min (Wang Leehom), who has started a drama society to shore up patriotism.

As the theatre troupe’s new leading lady, Wong realizes that she has found her calling, able to move and inspire audiences – and Kuang. But then he convenes a core group of students to carry out a radical and ambitious plan to assassinate a top Japanese collaborator, Mr Yee (Tony Leung), and asks Wong to become Mrs Mak and gain Yee’s trust by befriending his wife (Joan Chen) and then draw the man into an affair.

Wong transforms herself utterly inside and out, and the scenario proceeds as scripted – until an unexpectedly fatal twist spurs her to flee. But a little time later, she is offered another opportunity to complete her mission and enters into an extremely dangerous game.

Lust, Caution is released on January 4, 2008. b>Watch the trailer or view our early b>photo gallery