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Contender-Rodrigo Prieto-DP-Lust, Caution


Lust, Caution � the story of an intense, double-dealing love affair in Japan-occupied China during World War II � is the second film Mexican director of photography Rodrigo Prieto has made with director Ang Lee. They previously teamed in 2005 on Brokeback Mountain, about the thwarted love relationship between two cowboys. Controversial for its subject matter, the film was showered with honors, winning three Academy Awards and five Oscar nominations, including one for Prieto�s cinematography, his first.
Lust, Caution has also stirred its share of controversy, mainly for several lovemaking sequences, key to the plot, that set new cinema standards for graphic detail and are sensational in all senses of the word. The film won the Golden Lion at this year�s Venice Film Festival, and Prieto received the top honor for cinematography for his sophisticated and voluptuous camera work.
Shot almost entirely in China � both on location in Shanghai and Hong Kong and on sets at the Shanghai Film Studios � Prieto had to find a look that encompassed the film�s period sweep and also seemed realistic. �We were trying to find a balance between naturalism and the authentic look of the period,� says Prieto. �It is a genre piece, and we wanted it to give a little of the film noir feel. Ang didn�t want to emulate the films of the �30s and �40s in terms of imitating the lighting style, but he wanted to attain our own version of noir.
�Ang always shoots to underline the drama, but he never wants it be obvious,� says the DP. �There was always the question of how far do we go, but with restraint, which also has something to do with the subject of the movie. We were lustful in the approach we wanted to take but we also wanted to do it with caution.�
Filming the intimate sex scenes between stars Tony Leung and Tang Wei stretched over two weeks and was done with a very minimal crew in order to allow the actors to feel at ease. �It was just Ang, with a little monitor and no video recording device, me operating the camera, the boom operator and the focus puller. It was the four of us for two weeks with the actors and everyone else was away. They had to act and feel and be so close to each other, with the camera right on top of them. And we wanted to be right up close with wide lenses.�
Shooting in China, Prieto was unable to bring in any of his regular crew. There was a language barrier, but he found a translator who also served as an assistant. And three members of the Chinese team he assembled turned out to be directors of photography in their own right.
�The movie was more challenging for the subject matter and the way we filmed it than the fact I was shooting it in China in a different, difficult language. It was technically very complex and very ambitious.�
Prieto first rose to prominence as the director of photography on Amores Perros and 21 Grams for director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and worked with him again last year on Babel. Next up for the DP is State of Play, a murder mystery set in the nation�s capital, with Kevin McDonald who directed The Last King of Scotland.
� Jack Egan
2007 Win
Golden Osella, Venice Film Festival, Lust, Caution
2006 Nominations
BAFTA, best cinematography, Babel.
Academy Awards, cinematography, Brokeback Mountain;
ASC, Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography for a Theatrical Release, Brokeback Mountain;
BAFTA, Best Cinematography, Brokeback Mountain.
2004 Win
Cameriamge, Silver Frog, Alexander.
2003 Nomination
ASC, Outstanding Achievement in Cinemtagraphy for a Feature film, Frida.
2000 Win
Cameraimage, Golden Frog, Amores Perros

Written by Jack Egan

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