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Alicia Howard
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Lust, Caution and Censorship

I just watched Lust, Caution on DVD last night.  It's a wonderful movie as you would expect from Ang Lee.  I was a bit put off by the inclusion of so much explicit sex in the film as I don't think it added to the plot.  Ok.  I got it.  As the movie progressed the female lead (Tang Wei portraying Wong Chia Chi in a character arc that's more like a full circle---an amazing performance).  But I really don't need to see so much genitalia or other body parts to understand a relationship based on lust which develops into something more.  This plot was possibly the only one which would require that much graphic sex but as beautifully filmed as it was it was my cup runneth over. 

I like to see what other people think about a movie after I've seen it, so first I searched AnD and read about the NC17 ratings in the US and the censorship of parts of the movie in China, and then I went to Metacritic to read some reviews. 

This is what I discovered is happening TODAY.  China is putting the screws to this fine actress.  Why?  Allegedly for protraying a traitor to her country.  If you see this movie you will see their point but it's not as simple as that.  They're making an example of her, NOT of Ang Lee, NOT of Tony Leung, but this young actress at the beginning of a wonderful career.  Her performance was amazing and BRAVE and beautiful.  SHE didn't write the damned part. 

And now SHE'S GOING TO SUFFER A BAN. 

From the Associated Press but it's reported everywhere, except I guess in China.  I hope that AnD resists this as an Artists' website.  She is being scapgoated here.  It pisses me off. 

[quote]Chinese regulators have ordered TV stations in Beijing and Shanghai to stop reporting on actress Tang Wei and to pull any advertisements featuring the star of the Ang Lee spy thriller "Lust, Caution," according to Chinese media reports. The reason for the ban, which has not been officially announced, was not immediately clear. However, "Lust, Caution" has drawn attention because it portrays explicit sex and unpatriotic behavīor.Lee on Monday criticized the ban on Tang, who became a huge star with her role in the award-winning film. In a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press on Monday, Lee praised Tang's performance in "Lust, Caution" and said he's disappointed by the reported ban."I am very disappointed that Tang Wei is being hurt by this decision. She gave one of the greatest performances ever in a movie that was properly produced and distributed. We will do everything we can to support her in this difficult time," he said.Calls to a spokesman for the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television on Monday went unanswered.Hong Kong's Edko Films, which represents Tang, did not immediately return a reporter's call seeking comment.In the movie, Tang plays a student activist who seduces a Japanese-allied Chinese intelligence official in World War II-era Shanghai to pave way for his assassination, only to give away the plot at the last minute.Lee edited the movie before it was released in China, where it became a box office hit.Unknown before "Lust, Caution," Tang, who is in her late 20s, became a household name in the Chinese-speaking world with her portrayal of an undercover activist who falls too deep into a sexually charged relationship with the enemy."Lust, Caution" also won the top Golden Lion prize at the Venice Film Festival last year.Chinese authorities recently banned the producer of "Lost in Beijing," another sexually explicit movie about corrupted morals in modern China, after a censored version of the film had been cleared and was released in Chinese theaters.Lee, who won best director Oscar for the gay romance "Brokeback Mountain," was aware of Chinese worries about "Lust, Caution." He cut the movie's sexually explicit scenes and edited a line so Tang's character would appear less of a traitor to the Chinese cause.Many Chinese are still sensitive about the Japanese military's atrocities during its World War II-era invasion of China. The Hollywood movie "Memoirs of a Geisha" was not released in the country.Although the timing of the reported ban against Tang is unusual, it is not uncommon for the Chinese government to tighten media controls during key political events. China's National People's Congress is currently holding its annual meeting in Beijing.Zhang Pimin, deputy secretary-general at China's Film Bureau, told The Associated Press in a phone interview he has n't seen any orders about a ban against Tang. [/quote]

over 9 years ago 0 likes  15 comments  0 shares

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Photo 16256
I agree about the gratuitous, graphic sex. I didn't think the film really needed so show that much, over and over. That's a shame what's going on for the actress. China is trying to punish her for doing that role. That's China for you. If there's any hint of negativity about China or its people contained in the film (and I'm sure other arts suffer the same way), there's going to be trouble. I really don't get the mentality of the leaders in China. The race isn't perfect and sticking your head in a hole doesn't make many truths go away. Twisted.
over 9 years ago | flag as spam
Photo 35751
haven't seen the film but from what you and peachey describe, I would probably agree, I have no issue with sex in a movie but gratuitous sex is tiresome and in everything. Infact I pretty much agree with peacheys next comment too. I think it is terrible she is going to suffer a ban. Totally outrageous
over 9 years ago | flag as spam
Photo 24330
Dang! I'd think they'd be targeting Ang Lee with bans and boycotts, not some poor girl who was just doing what her boss instructed her to do. Lee knows what the Chinese leaders are like by now, so why push their buttons and bring this trouble down on an innocent person? "We will do everything we can do to support her in this difficult time." Um.. Ang.. I think it's a little late for that. .: (
over 9 years ago | flag as spam
Photo 28042
and Tony Leung, I love the guy, but everything but the tip of his pee pee was shown in that movie AND he was the Chinese collaborator with the Japanese AND he got away with it in the end. Oh, he's too big of a movie start. This is just such a pussy response by the PRC powers that be. They are the ones who should be ASHAMED.
over 9 years ago | flag as spam
Photo 16256
Right! Tony didn't get any shit over this role. WTF!!! Maybe the reports of banning her are blown out of proportion?
over 9 years ago | flag as spam
Photo 34078
This really sucks for Tang Wei. It's not as if she really is the character that she portrayed in the film. And if they're coming down on her for that then Tony Leung should definitely be getting it too for the character he played. I hope it's not just because she's a woman. It's a real shame that this is happening. It's not like Tang Wei has really embarrassed her country like say someone like Bai Ling. I've not seen this film yet but I will say that I'm not big on sex scenes in general especially if they're gratuitous and don't serve to drive the story. It sounds like the ones in this film are indeed somewhat integral to the story but they're quite graphic and drawn out from what you describe. That being said, I probably take issue more with violence than I do sex in movies - somehow violence has become more acceptable as there is just such a proliferation of it in movies today that most people seem to have become somewhat desensitized to it. That is not a good thing.
over 9 years ago | flag as spam
Photo 29080
I wonder if Tang Wei knew what she was risking when she took this role. It certainly seems hypocritical for her to be made an example. There's always been a double standard for men & women when it comes right down to it imo.
over 9 years ago | flag as spam
Jrs 8c 1405439596528
Good golly...unbelievable. Poor Tang Wei.
over 9 years ago | flag as spam
Photo 24662
wow..i might need to see this movie..if the chick's really hawt "and Tony Leung, I love the guy, but everything but the tip of his pee pee was shown" well still doesn't sound like much hahahahahahaha couldn't resist
over 9 years ago | flag as spam
Photo 32989
Wow that's super retarded. I can't believe they would do something like that and not chastise Tony for any of his work. Crazy if you ask me.
over 9 years ago | flag as spam
Mariejost 26 dsc00460
To take a look at what Tony Leung said in support of Tang Wei go to www.tonyleung.info. Click on the tab at the top that says "interviews" and then "live news feeds". Towards the bottom of the page you will see the article in the press that quotes what Tony had to say in defense of Tang Wei. About Lust, Caution and its nudity. I didn't have trouble with it. I thought it really was important to show that despite the presumed physical intimacy of the two characters, stripped naked as they were, their contorted bodies told a very different story than sexual release. These were among the most tense and un-sexy sex scenes I have ever seen in a film. They were painful to watch because there was so much that was withheld by each character. Even when they did sort of feel something for one another, they had to keep it locked very deep inside. I'm not sure they even could have given a name to what they were feeling. Because I was reading subtitles, I need to see the film again to take in more of it. I did have the good fortune to see the film on the big screen and the sex was, perhaps, even more tense over life size than on a DVD watched at home. I didn't find anything gratuitous about the sex, in fact, to the contrary. It was one of the few real legitimate uses of sex to advance the story and character development I am aware of, not like in so many films where they take few minute break and zoom in on the girl's "charms", like it was some sort of soft-core porn movie, before getting back to the story. With Tang Wei, she wasn't cast for her physical attributes. She would never have been cast in a nude scene in Hollywood, not without a little surgical enhancement.
over 9 years ago | flag as spam
Photo 31454
I disagree :) i thought her parts were very engaging haha ok ok i digress
over 9 years ago | flag as spam
Photo 72630
the Censor department in China just a bunch of idiots! I hate them, as well as most of peoples I know
over 9 years ago | flag as spam
Photo 72105
That's insane...I remember reading the article about Tang Wei being banned and I'm like OMG!!! I actually thought Lust, Caution was good but didn't like how the movie ended. I wonder what Tang plans to do now.
over 9 years ago | flag as spam
Photo 442564
poor Tang Wei. This seems to be extaorinarily undair
almost 8 years ago | flag as spam

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