I’m afraid my life has been rather boring over the last couple of weeks as I have been doing very little besides studying. Last weekend, Taipei was hit by yet another large typhoon, which wiped away our plan to go out and buy a television and washing machine. Wednesday was Double-10 Day, but I spent the whole day reviewing characters from previous chapters instead of going out to Ximending to watch the fireworks.
Ron and I did manage to see “Lust, Caution” on Tuesday, however. A lot of reviews from U.S. papers have complained about its 2 1/2 hour running time. I’m not sure what critics from other countries, including Taiwan or China, have said about this issue, but I agree with what Lee and writing partner James Schamus have said, that many American filmgoers are used to narratives that whiz past you and U.S. reviewers are therefore less able to accept the idea that a languorous running time might simply be necessary to tell certain stories. In my opinion, “Lust, Caution”‘s running length was barely enough to capture the confluence of political and social upheaval and personal history that made the Tang Wei character’s climatic decision comprehensible. Yes, my butt turned numb from sitting for more than 180 minutes and I was worried about permanent nerve damage, but “Lust, Caution” has given me plenty to think about over the last few days, including how little I know of Chinese and Taiwanese history despite the fact that many of my close relatives experienced some of its most tragic and pivotal chapters firsthand.
Anyway, here are some clips from MovieWeb.com that I found interesting:
Interview with Ang Lee:
And, finally, golden boy Wang Leehom, Taiwanese-American pop superstar, who got a 1600 on his SATs, studied Asian History at Williams College (where my Scarlett Aiyi teaches), speaks Mandarin perfectly, invented a new genre of pop and crafts his own Mandarin lyrics despite not learning how to read and write the language until he was 18. Way to go for making the rest of us look bad, Wang Leehom! I’m kidding. He’s an inspiration to us all: