Posts Tagged ‘caution’

Lust, Caution’s background story

January 17, 2008
After months of waiting, Lust, Caution came to London finally. I went to watch last Saturday.
I feel it’s almost an autobiography of the writer Chang Eileen imaging her own life in a parallel universe. Like Wong Chia Chi, Chang was also a deserted daughter by her father, fell in love with a collaborator to Japanese, Hu Lan Cheng, who later had many lovers when went into hidding after Japanese were defeated. Hu later wrote a book This Life, These Times, 《今生今世》 about women he loved, in romantic and non romantic ways.
Chang had a prominent family back ground. Her great grand father was Li Hong Zhang, stateman in late 19th century in China, the other side of grandfather, Zhang Pei Lun was also an senior minister. Chang’s mother went to the UK to study when she was five. Her father married again when she was 14, her stepmother was the daughter of the prime minister of Republic of China, Sun Bao Qi. She had conflict with her stepmother, as a result, was locked in by her father. She ran away from her father’s home, and stayed with her aunt. Her mother also returned Shanghai around the time. Her mother said if you didn’t return your father’s home, you would be poor with me. Eileen later said she hesitated, but then, she thought that ” Though money goes in and out of that home, it’s not mine, and if I go back, I will waste these important years in my life.” Eileen was always like this: she never did any thing out of heroic feelings, her motivation was always in the practical side, which is also often the case in her stories. I often find it true and disturbing to face the not-so-beautiful reality of life.
When she was in Hong Kong University, Eileen studied really hard because the best student would have the chance to be sent to UK for further study. She studied hard and got the best score in every subject. But unfortunately the Pacific war broke out and she was not able to go. Later she said that “Effort like that could be erased like completely” as all the school record was burnt during the war, she wonder whether hard working really worth to do. Fortunately, when she returned to Japanese occupied Shanghai, she published her first book and because an instant celebrity. Before she was thirty, there were 4 films based on her books or scripts. She met Hu Lan Cheng during the Japanese occupation of Shanghai and married secretly.
After Japanese were defeated, Hu had to run for his life. Where ever he hide, he would have a new lover. Eileen and Hu divorced in 1947. After communists took over China in 1949, Eileen felt that her style didn’t suit the new writing style Communist wanted. So she left Shanghai in 1952 and went to America in 1955.
There wasn’t a lot happening after she moved to America, which is a pity.