Ang Lee's latest movie, Lust, Caution, is not only making money at the box office, but it is also generating plenty of headlines. First, there was a great deal of discussion about the film's sex scenes. About thirty minutes was cut by censors in China, although the film screened in Taiwan and other places without being censored.
The other major controversy is over the film's country of origin. The film is a China/USA/Taiwan co-production that was shot in China and Malaysia. When Lust, Caution screened at the Venice Film Festival, where it won the Golden Lion, it was originally credited as "China-USA" at the festival. After a complaint it was changed to "Taiwan", then a few days later changed to "USA-China-Taiwan, China".
Now the Academy has rejected the film as Taiwan's official nomination for the Oscars on the grounds that "an insufficient number of Taiwanese participated in the production of the film". The film was of course directed by Taiwanese director, Ang Lee, and the screenplay was written by Wang Hui-ling (王蕙玲). AFP reports:
some in the island questioned the decision, saying that Lee's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," which also had few Taiwanese in the cast and crew, was allowed to represent Taiwan and went on to win the Oscar for best foreign film.
My own feelings are that Lust, Caution was really a Chinese film and it didn't have any strong connection with Taiwan, other than its director being Taiwanese. Of course it must be disappointing that Ang Lee misses out on the chance to win another Oscar. Taiwan has now nominated Island Etude for the Academy Awards.
Update: The Taipei Times have made this issue the topic of their editorial today. (21 Oct 2007)