Ang Lee's Latest Gets an NC-17
'Lust, Caution' will go out with the usually restrictive rating
The most interesting part of this story isn't that Lee's "Lust, Caution" has picked up an NC-17 rating from the MPAA's rating board. That happens fairly frequently. No, the news is that Focus Features reportedly plans to accept the NC-17 and take the film into theaters as is.
According to the industry trade papers, the ratings board handed down its ruling for the Mandarin-language feature on Wednesday (Aug. 22) and Focus signed off on it. The plan is still to premiere "Lust, Caution" in New York City on Sept. 28 and begin a slow roll-out starting the following week.
Based on the short story by Eileen Chang, "Lust, Caution" stars Tony Leung and Tang Wei. The film, Lee's first since "Brokeback Mountain," reportedly features several scenes of graphic male-female sexuality, never a good thing for the intimacy-challenged ratings board.
Although the MPAA created the NC-17 rating back in 1990 as an alternative to the stigmatized X-rating, it has been incredibly rare for a studio to actually release an NC-17 film. While indies have occasionally opted to go into theaters without an MPAA rating, Focus is owned by Universal, an MPAA signatory required to release films with ratings.
The recent list of films from MPAA signatory studios to go into theaters with an NC-17 is quite small, with exceptions including Fox Searchlight's "The Dreamers" and "Young Adam" from Sony Pictures Classics.