Last night, uncharacteristically on the first night of its release in Australia, D and I went to see Ang Lee’s latest film, Lust Caution.
How could I fail to go and see this, having been subjected to months of teasers by Roland Soong, whose blog, ESWN, I have long followed and who, in addition to having attended Holy Cross College in Ryde in the late-sixties, is the literary executor of the Eileen Chang, whose short story forms the basis of the film?
How could I ever have written such a long sentence under the guise of a question?
I enjoyed the film, though D was quick to point out that the plot is not particularly credible. Like Brokeback Mountain, it is a long film (too long, by more than one account) drawn out of a fairly short original story, but mercifully didn’t feel as slow as BM.
The film has gained some notoriety for its sex scenes. This is deserved. At one point, a blurry but suspiciously tuber-shaped object caused a flurry of conjecture between members of the audience. I am sure we were all wondering the same thing: is that Mr Leung’s (not-so-)小弟弟 and are they really doing it? (My own view: (1) probably; and (2) surely not.)
The film is sumptuously made, especially so far as the historical recreation is involved (Hong Kong, Shanghai, 1938 – 1942). Wikipedia claims some anachronistic London-style taxis in the Hong Kong scenes. D is newly embarked on an attempt to give up smoking. I am indebted to him for the further anachronism which he noted, namely that Tony Leung neglected to tap the base of his cigarettes to settle their contents before lighting up.