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Originally posted by wayves at 2008-1-1 04:41
I don't try to over-analyze movies.
It wasn't a documentary, it was entertainment!
A group of young students came up with a plan that they believed would help their country during desperate ...
[I don't try to over-analyze movies.]
It really depends on the movie you are watching. If I watched movies like Superman, Spiderman, Mr and Mrs Smith, Terminator, I don’t care about the details. But if you watched a movie that talks about your life, your people, your history or someone close to you, you will see it differently.
[It wasn't a documentary, it was entertainment!]
I would say that Lust and Caution is neither of the above. It is certainly NOT a documentary with all its “factual inaccuracies”. As for “entertaining”, the movie should anytime be one of those movies I mentioned above. Even if a movie is themed on Chinese legendary (and past), we can easily relate to it as “entertaining” if it were one of Stephen Chow’s (comical) movies or, for that matter, Jackie Chan’s action movies with its exaggerated antics and incredible ideas.
Unfortunately, I see none of the above qualities in Lust and Caution to qualify it as an “entertainment”.
Lust and Caution tells a story; a story about a part in Chinese history or Chinese past which many Chinese people can relate and feel passionate about. In the story, it conveys an “attitude” and a “character” about a people. The movie is watched by people who may or may not be Chinese, who may or may not understand Chinese history, Chinese past, Chinese culture and even the Chinese people.
But this “attitude” and this “character” will be “judged” by the audience who watched it and what the movie fed them with. Let’s minus the SEX in the movie, what has Lust and Caution otherwise conveyed to you?
I am not saying that Lust and Caution determines everything, but I am concerned about is the very “sided” view it conveys to the audience, not by what it “tells” and “shows” but by what it HAS NOT. This is my objections to the movie, to the “pertinent” issues it had not addressed and seemed determined to be MUTED about. That’s my post in #30 and all the question marks I have in post #53.
While the movie seemed “unrestrained” in showing the EXPLICIT sex between Wang and Yee, it was pretty “subdued” and “muted” when it comes to depicting the ACTUAL political and social conditions at the time; the cruelties and brutality of the enemy and the hardships and the sufferings that the people endured in the hands of the enemy.
I am not saying that Lee should turn this into a “war” movie, but it should at least be fair to show the kind of enemy that the Chinese faced at that time. Would you be contented, and would you call that “suffering” or “hardship” to see only ONE scene showing 2 soldiers beating up a Chinese in the streets? Yes, we saw the people queue up for food; at least they were given food by the enemy soliders. They were not starved and were beaten for not getting enough. But this isn't the reality, is it?
I didn’t see any cruelty of the enemy in the movie. Why didn’t Lee show or dare to show a little more truth about the enemy that would explain the students’ resistance efforts and make the movie more complete? Was it his reputation and career as a movie director that he was concerned? Was it some people and some sectors that he didn’t want to offend? And would a “fairer” treatment of the truth have changed the views of the audience on Wang’s betrayal of her fellow students from one of “sympathy” to one of “condemnation”? It might and it would be hard to give her a prize in the Golden Horse award ceremony.
Like I said earlier, Lee Ang’s objective of making the movie was his “hard-sell” for fame and wealth. He won’t put his neck out for the chop! He wanted to make a movie about the “period” but chose to be “muted” on its truth and accuracy. By doing so, he is doing the truth an injustice.
Throughout the movie, he projected the resistance students as childish and immature, the resistance leader as uncaring and selfish (who wanted to avenge Mr Yee because the latter killed his family). All these, perhaps, nicely conveyed, fit, explained and justified the Chinese “failure”.
It is true that the Chinese did fail (not only in this movie but in reality). But the fact remains that the reason for the Chinese failure is more than just its weakness and immaturity. The Chinese faced a very formidable enemy which is beastly in nature and equivalent to a killing machine. Why didn't Lee show us that? How do you fight that kind of enemy? How would you not fail?
Why does Lee Ang choose to “internalise” the Chinese’s failure by seeing only its “weakness” but not the “brutality” of the enemy?
Likewise, Mr Yee, the target of the students’ assassination, was supposed to be a very cruel man. But have we seen him kill or torture any Chinese in the movie? Why not? Again, would showing this changed the audience’s views about Wang’s betrayal for love?
[As for the love scenes, I didn't think they were really needed to have an appreciation for the story, but they weren't offensive either. I think the same effect could have been achieved with a little less skin, but everyone has their own opinion on that.]
I understand the sex scenes were longer and more graphic than what I had seen in the movie if not for the censorship. Indeed, if the “space” for these scenes could be devoted to show the kind of enemy that the Chinese faced and the brutal side of Mr Yee, it would certainly make the movie more complete and convey a more accurate picture about the situation then; and let the audience decide accurately rather than feed them with bias and distortion about the Chinese people, the reality and the truth.
For sure, I am not contented to remain silent seeing an injustice and a distortion of facts even for a movie and a fiction. Are you?
Anyway, how much did you pay to watch the movie?