Less than two weeks ago, Ang Lee's Lust, Caution was assigned an NC-17 rating by the MPAA. Co-writer and executive producer James Schamus said at the time: "When we screened the final cut of this film, we knew we weren't going to change a frame. Every moment up on that screen works and is an integral part of the emotional arc of the characters." Schamus is also CEO of US distributor Focus Features, so that sounded like the final word. But maybe not every frame is needed after all, at least for some viewers. ScreenDaily reported on Monday morning that director Lee plans a "safer edit" of the film for Mainland Chinese audiences.

After the NC-17 rating was assigned for the US, Zhang Peisen, an official from the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, was quoted in China.org.cn as saying that the film had "already passed the content and technical examines" in China. However, Ren Zhonglun, president of the Shanghai Film Group, claimed that Chinese censors "had voiced some opinions for revisions that Ang Lee has accepted." Thus, it's entirely possible that Lee has been planning a different edit for some time. Yet it seems strangely at odds with what Schamus has said about "every moment" being "an integral part" of the character-based spy drama. Won't cutting some or all of the sex scenes affect the audience's understanding of the characters?

Lust, Caution debuted at the Venice Film Festival last week and failed to impress the trades. Derek Elley of Variety wrote: "Too much caution and too little lust squeeze much of the dramatic juice out of" the film, while Ray Bennett of The Hollywood Reporter said it had "long periods of boredom relieved by moments of extremely heightened excitement." Lust, Caution is set to open in the US on September 28; its release in China has been pushed back to October 26, according to reports.
categories Movies, Cinematical