Ang Lee Defends Every Frame Of NC-17 Film

When the MPAA slapped Ang Lee's Lust, Caution (which opens next week) with an NC-17 rating for "explicit sexuality," the director and his writer-producer James Schamus said they wouldn't "change a single frame." We asked Lee to explain himself: Why did he sequester star Tony Leung and newcomer Tang Wei on a closed set, for twelve days, to shoot kinky, violent sex scenes in a bedroom constructed with the kind of padded, stunt-proof walls he used on Crouching Tiger? "Each time they have intercourse, it's like a conversation--and sex is the ultimate body language," says Lee. "Every nuance, each time they have sex, progresses into something different." Based on an Eileen Chang short story, the film unspools during the Japanese occupation of Shanghai; a young Chinese radical (Wei) impersonates a society lady in order to seduce and assassinate a collaborator (Leung) who sniffs out the resistance for the Japanese. "I feel like I'm doing sister films," says Lee. "Brokeback Mountain was about a kind of lost paradise, and this is more like hell." Their first sex scene is shockingly rough and moves quickly into bondage--mirroring the power relations of the occupation.

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