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Esteemed Taiwanese director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, Life of Pi) returned to Asia once more for this startlingly erotic tale of espionage and obsession.
Director: Ang Lee
Esteemed Taiwanese director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, Life of Pi) returned to Asia once more for this startlingly erotic tale of espionage and obsession. In pre-war, Japanese-occupied China, an idealistic student (Wei Tang) enrols in a plot to entice and then assassinate a secret service head (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai). But as she initiates a passionate affair with her target, she begins to struggle with the emotional demands of her assignment, as the assassination plot is delayed ever further…
Following an Oscar win for Brokeback Mountain, Lee returned to China and Taiwan once again (he previously returned to make Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 2000) for this controversial project, for which he recruited some of Chinese cinema’s biggest names in Leung and Joan Chen. But it’s newcomer Wet Tang who steals the show in a sensational, subtly nuanced performance. The film’s explicit sex scenes caused controversy in various countries; particularly in China itself where the film was cut for seven minutes. Elsewhere the film was awarded the most restrictive certificates usually reserved for pornography and extreme material (eg. NC-17 in the US and Category III in Hong Kong). But while its erotic scenes are explicit, they’re integral to the plot, endowing the film’s central relationship with a fervent authenticity.