Thursday, March 19, 2009

lust, caution / zodiac / breath


recreating hong kong and shanghai in the time of the japanese occupation of china, ang lee makes them both gorgeous and lush. the seduction and the trapping of a senior government officials is done by a particularly beautiful woman and the sex scenes are explicit yet ‘tasteful’. as a feast for the eyes the film delivers a very tasty dish but somehow beyond that the period politics are simplistic hero vs villain- maybe necessary for a freedom fighter drama. the sexual tension in the air between the very good looking lead couple is crackling though.

the scariest thing about ‘zodiac’ is just how everyday it is. there are none of the tricks of a serial killer film. 5 murders happen right in the beginning of the film and rest of the film is merely a search for a killer that we know was never found for certain. we follow a cartoonist, a policeman and a reporter as they become obsessed with the murders and look for clues as independent detectives. when the clues begin to lead conclusively in one direction the case falls apart. this happens over and over again.

in breath kim ki duks film about the relationship between a woman trapped in a loveless marriage and a prison inmate on death row makes too many pat parallels for me. the jealousies of the husband and the inmate of the main couple also seem to follow patterns that are very clich├ęd. when the woman makes the seasons enter the life of the prisoner with wallpaper and music is when the film redeemed itself from its formulaic pattern- and that too because it so easily fit into my current framework for cinema city. it was almost an illustration.

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