Women Take Ang Lee's Latest Movie to New Heights

      November 16, 2007 07:56

      Korean women in their 30s are largely responsible for the unexpected success here of Ang Lee's new film "Lust, Caution," which drew some 385,000 viewers nationwide in the seven days since its release on Nov. 8.

      The 160-minute movie about the relationship between a Chinese woman and a powerful collaborator with the Japanese is being sold as an erotic film, with the phrase "uncut edition" suggesting provocative scenes that might have been excised.

      According to multiplex cinema Primus, 60 percent of viewers in their 20s and 30s who have seen the movie were women who came with their women friends. A cinema staffer said, "Many women came to see the movie with other girlfriends rather than boyfriends."

      In advance booking, women also outnumbered men. Internet film ticket reservation site Maxmovie said the proportion of men and women who booked tickets for "Lust, Caution" was 44:56 on Sunday, 38:62 on Monday, 31:69 on Tuesday and 24:76 percent on Wednesday, averaging 37:63 percent. The percentage of women is increasing by the day, partly because its star Tony Leung has a devoted female fan base.

      Comparison with other movies makes it clear. The proportion of men and women who booked tickets for "Le Grand Chef," released on Nov. 1, was 47:53. For "Seven Days" starring Kim Yun-jin, it was 42:58, and for fantasy animation "Beowulf" 47:53 percent.

      Many women are drawn by the sex scenes between Tony Leung and Wei Tang, which are said to contain full frontal nudity. But that is not the only reason for its popularity among women, given how easy it is to access more explicit material on the Internet.

      Hwang Sang-min, who teaches psychology at Yonsei University, went to see the movie with his wife and said it provides a good subject for women to talk about with friends because women tend to enjoy movies with both mind and heart. It is easier for women in their 30s to appreciate Wei Tang's psychological conflict, he added.

      It may also be the film’s literary nature that appeals to women in their 30s. Film critic Lee Sang-yong says, "Both 'Lust, Caution,' and 'Lady Chatterley's Lover,' which was modestly popular when it was released this summer, deal with the true character and identity of women and have literary elements. This subject matter is what women in their 30s and 40s can easily identify with and appreciate."

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