Ang Lee's erotic spy thriller Lust, Caution won the Venice Film Festival's top Golden Lion award yesterday, two years after he captured the same prize with Brokeback Mountain.
Director Ang Lee celebrates with his Golden Lion for the movie Lust, Caution at the 64th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, yesterday.
Brian De Palma won the 11-day festival's award for best direction for his Redacted, a film about the Iraq war.
Lee's film is set against the backdrop of Japanese-occupied Shanghai during World War II.
In the film, an idealistic young acting troupe in Hong Kong, driven by patriotic fervor, drafts a naive plot to assassinate a Chinese official collaborating with the Japanese during World War II. Their star performer delves into the role of seductress as an escape from the emptiness of her father's abandonment and mother's death.
Her pursuit of a cruel, aloof man takes her from Hong Kong to Shanghai at the height of the Japanese occupation -- and her deception becomes her reality.
Lust, Caution, which contains explicit sexuality, has been given an NC-17 rating in the United States, banning viewers under 17. The film also does not shrink from a graphic portrayal of violence. The movie is due out in the United States at the end of September.
Brokeback also had strong scenes as it told the homosexual love story between two cowboys in the American West.
Lee said he was dedicating his prize to Ingmar Bergman, the Swedish director who died in July at age 89.
Winning the Golden Lion for a second time in three years "is a wild one, which frightens me, like the film Lust, Caution," Lee said at the ceremony.
Also winning awards at Venice were Cate Blanchett as best actress for her role in I'm Not There, a movie about singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, and Brad Pitt as best actor for playing the famous outlaw in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.
Blanchett played the role of Dylan during his folk-rock incarnation.
Neither Blanchett nor Pitt were on hand to pick up their awards.
Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci was honored with a special award for his career's work, which includes Last Tango in Paris, The Conformist and The Last Emperor -- his 1987 film about the life of China's last emperor, which won nine Oscars, including for best director.
(Shanghai Daily September 9, 2007)