Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan
Chor Yuen's Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan was fairly controversial upon its' release in 1972. The portrayal of lesbian killers featured in here might not be enough to bat an eyelash at nowadays, but that might because there have been so many movies (most notably Naked Killer) that have followed in the mold that Intimate Confessions created.
The film tells the story of Ainu (Lily Ho), a woman kidnapped and sold to a brothel owned by Lady Chun (Betty Tei). Ainu's looks make her a hot commodity, but her temper causes her clients to resort to drugs to take advantage of her. Swearing revenge, Ainu hatches a plan to both escape from the brothel and ruin Lady Chun for good.
And yeah, okay, there's the whole lesbian sub-plot as well. Lady Chun doesn't like guys, and takes a fancy to Ainu. They share a few kisses, but if you're looking for a video nasty, then go elsewhere. The sex scenes are explicit for the time, and the fact that several of them revolve around rape is a bit disturbing, but on the whole, the naughty bits are treated with a lot of class.
That's not to say that things are all duckies and bunnies. There are several scenes that do go a bit over the top, such as one that features genital torture via a lit candle. Nothing's ever fully shown, but those sorts of parts just come off as cheap shock attempts, and not really conducive to the story.
Overall, though, Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan is a very schizophrenic, but still very satisfying, viewing experience. It's one of those films that blends a whole bunch of genres together and somehow manages to tie everything together. If you want to see one of the more unique Shaw Brothers films out there, you can't go wrong with this.
The Image Entertianment release (via their "Eastern Masters" line) is solid for the most part, with the transfer coming from Celestial's remaster. Like some of Eastern Masters' other discs, there are a ton of trailers included here, and in a nice touch, many of them in their original form. There are also interviews with Lily Ho and Betty Tei, which are worth taking a look at for some behind-the-scenes information about the movie.
The DVD is available from Amazon.
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