Ang Lee is now an international director of renown ( Brokeback Mounatin) but the Taiwan cineaste plied his trade with Far Eastern movies which I prefer to his more commercial works like Hidden Tiger, Crouching Tiger .
One such I watched for the third time yesterday, namely Lust, Caution.
Some 10 years ago I had to spend time on research in the branch library at Swiss Cottage. This had an interesting World DVD section where I discovered Lust, caution as well as El Lobo and the German film Yella.
Lust, Caution is set in Hong Kong in the late 1930s/early 40s. A Minister Mr Yee (Tony Leung) is cooperating with the Japanese in ruthlessly rooting out resistance which a young troupe of actors join.
One of them, a young girl called Wong (Wei Tang), infiltrates the home of Yee as a honey trap.
Things get complicated as she develops strong feelings for Yee but is a vital cog in his planned assassination.
Tony Leung features in many of Ang Lee’s films.
In much the same way as Max von Sydow made his early career with Ingmar Bergman, so does Leung with Ang Lee.
Leung’s facial expressions are so expressive that you hardy need the English subtitles.
My only critique of this fast-action engrossing film is a violent rape scene which I doubt would be made today.
Lee casts a young relatively unknown TV actress for the role as Wong and one wonders if she was prepared to accept the demands of the role because of her film career prospects.
I’m not the biggest fan of #MeToo but I am pleased that even a great director like Lee would now almost certainly think twice before filming this scene.