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Ang Lee has low expectations for ‘Lust, Caution’

“Its pace, its film language — it’s all very Chinese. I also used Western film noir. It’s a new start for me. It’s not very audience-friendly for a market like the U.S. It’s not their subject matter,” Lee told a forum for young directors Sunday in Hong Kong.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee has low expectations for the U.S. box office of his new spy thriller “Lust, Caution.”

“Its pace, its film language — it’s all very Chinese. I also used Western film noir. It’s a new start for me. It’s not very audience-friendly for a market like the U.S. It’s not their subject matter,” Lee told a forum for young directors Sunday in Hong Kong.

The filmmaker, who gained mainstream recognition in the United States with “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and “Brokeback Mountain” (which won him an Oscar for best director last year), said another obstacle is the film’s NC-17 rating, which bans viewers younger than 17.

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Hollywood trade publication Variety has reported that “Lust, Caution,” which won the top Golden Lion prize at the recent Venice Film Festival, features lovemaking involving “provocative” sexual positions, implied oral sex and full frontal female nudity.

Speaking to reporters after the forum, Lee said an edited version of “Lust, Caution” — with fewer sex scenes — recently cleared Chinese censors. China does not have a ratings system, so Lee had to provide a version suitable for all ages.

He said the cuts did not compromise the movie’s plot and character development, but dampens some of its emotional intensity.