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Eileen ChangRomancing Languages, Cultures and Genres$
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Louie Kam

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9789888083794

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888083794.001.0001

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Eileen Chang and Ang Lee at the Movies: The Cinematic Politics of Lust, Caution

Eileen Chang and Ang Lee at the Movies: The Cinematic Politics of Lust, Caution

(p.131) 7 Eileen Chang and Ang Lee at the Movies: The Cinematic Politics of Lust, Caution
Eileen Chang
Kam Louie
Hong Kong University Press

Eileen Chang's “Lust, Caution” and Ang Lee's 2007 adaptation of the story deal with appearance, performance, betrayal and the cinema. This chapter looks at the various political positions rendered in cinematic terms in both Chang's novella and Lee's film. From the women revolutionists associated with early Shanghai film to Hollywood's Anna May Wong as well as Bernardo Bertolucci's take on Chinese and fascist fashion in films such as The Conformist (1970) and The Last Emperor (1987), Lee's Lust, Caution revolves around images of tailored dark suits, cloche hats, and diamond rings. Within this heady mixture of politics, fashion, and postmodern consumerism, Lust, Caution creates a pastiche of past film styles evoked through fashion choices to parallel transformations in ideological fashion that may or may not be on a par with seasonal wardrobe changes. This chapter shows how the film's politics hinge on how it takes up very specific, cinematically inspired questions of style.

Keywords:   Fascism, Sadomasochism, The Conformist, Last Emperor, Street Angel, In The Mood For Love, qi pao, consumerism, postmodern aesthetics

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