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Lust, Caution to Screen in China despite Sex Scenes
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The greatly-anticipated new film by Oscar-winning director Ang Lee, Lust, Caution, will be aired in Chinese theaters on September 26.

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The new date is two days earlier than the previously announced screening date. Monday's Beijing Times quoted sources from the China Film Group, confirming the news.

The erotic spy thriller, adapted from a short story by the famed Chinese author Eileen Chang, will premiere in North America in late September. It has recently been given an NC-17 rating in the United States, signifying that admission to the film will not be granted to anyone under the age of 17.

But Zhang Peisen, an official from the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, said this would not affect the film's screenings in China. He revealed that the film has already passed the content and technical examines.

Ren Zhonglun, the president of the Shanghai Film Group and a film collaborator, said that he had watched the demo version of Lust, Caution but didn't find any outrageous scenes. He did admit that Chinese censors had voiced some opinions for revisions that Ang Lee has accepted.

Lust follows a young Chinese woman in Japanese-occupied Shanghai during World War II. She becomes the center of a plot to seduce and kill a married enemy collaborator. The trailer for the subtitled Chinese-language film shows lead actors Tony Leung and Tang Wei in various states of writhing passion.

The production company and distributor Focus Features will not edit the Oscar-winning filmmaker's follow-up to Brokeback Mountain or try to appeal the rating after the Motion Picture Association of America's ratings board cited the film's graphic sexuality for its decision, according to foreign media. A source said too many of the film's sex scenes violated the ratings board's unwritten rules to make an appeal possible.

Sources who have seen the film said it contains at least three scenes -- one a long montage -- featuring multiple acts of aggressive sexual activity in different positions. There's no full-frontal male nudity, but there is male-on-female oral sex, non-S&M restraints and several nontraditional sexual positions are depicted, conveying the aggression and emotional conflict between the main characters.

Focus Features CEO James Schamus, who co-wrote the screenplay, said that he accepts the rating "without protest." Schamus didn't disclose how long the company was aware that Lust might receive an NC-17 but noted that Lee has final cut rights.

"Ang is the filmmaker, and he brought this adaptation to life," Schamus said. "He knows exactly what he wants to realize and achieve in filming any given sequences, and he made the final decisions on how to stage, frame, shoot and edit them, much in the same way he did with Crouching Tiger or Brokeback."

Lust will premiere in the next few weeks at the Venice and Toronto film fests before opening in New York, followed by an October 5 release in select cities. Critics consider the film as a potential winner of this year's Golden Lion award.

(, Shenzhen Daily/Agencies August 28, 2007)

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