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Last Updated: Monday, 3 September 2007, 08:15 GMT 09:15 UK
Ang Lee film 'censored for China'
Tang Wei and Tony Leung Chiu-wai in Lust, Caution

Film director Ang Lee's Venice Film Festival contender Lust, Caution will be cut for audiences in China, according to a report.

The Taiwanese film-maker will remove sex scenes from the thriller ahead of its release there, says Screen Daily.

The movie has already been given a restrictive NC-17 rating in the US, where it hits cinemas later this month.

Lee is hoping to scoop the prestigious Golden Lion at Venice, two years after winning with Brokeback Mountain.

'Not pornography'

Critics at the festival, where Lust, Caution premiered last week, said the film is "too cautious" and "risks leaving audiences cold".

It has a gradual release in the US and is expected to make only modest box office returns.

Ang Lee
Lee defended his film's explicit sex scenes

Lee said that the film is "not pornography", but admitted it is "unsuitable for children".

He added that the NC-17 rating was a "respectable category" and hoped it would not discourage audiences.

The category bars under-17s from seeing the film.

The film, based on a novella by Eileen Chang, follows a Chinese woman in Japanese-occupied Shanghai during World War II, who finds herself in the centre of a plot to seduce and kill a married enemy collaborator.

It caused controversy ahead of its Venice debut when it was billed as a film from Taiwan, China in the festival programme - implying that the island state is part of the mainland.

"I think it is more important to show the movie. I leave it to the politicians and the festival," Lee reporters.

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