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Screening TortureMedia Representations of State Terror and Political Domination$
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Fabiola Fernandez Salek

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780231153591

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231153591.001.0001

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Lust, Caution

Lust, Caution

Torture, Sex, and Passion in Chinese Cinema

(p.71) 4 Lust, Caution
Screening Torture

Chris Berry

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines the connection between torture and sexuality in Chinese cinema by focusing on Ang Lee’s 2007 film, Lust, Caution (Se Jie). Emilie Yueh-yu Yeh notes two brief appearances made by a German shepherd guard dog in Lust, Caution. She details how the relationship between lust and caution is communicated cinematically in the film through montage techniques. This chapter suggests that the dog in Lust, Caution can also be understood as a crisp visualization of torture. It also discusses the differences in the American and Chinese receptions of the film; it was a sensation in China but not in the United States, in part because of the sadomasochistic sex scenes between the torturer and the woman who is planning his assassination. The chapter locates Lust, Caution in the context of other earlier Chinese films that depict the “direct representation of torture and bodily torment on screen”.

Keywords:   torture, sexuality, Chinese cinema, Ang Lee, Lust, Caution, montage technique, China, United States

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