Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Trilogy of Lust (1995)

Trilogy of Lust (1995)
Chinese title: Blood Love.

There has always been a split between hardcore porno and mainstream erotic movies. By mainstream films, I mean they're actually shown in cinemas. While it's very difficult to separate the two at times in terms of sexual themes. With movie censorship that are increasingly loosen over times, the boundary has blurred so much that it's quite impossible to tell.

In mainstream movie with strong sexual content, the films may contain extreme violence, and try to shock the audience with whole gamut of depravity from BDSM, incest, gang-rape, necrophilia, and anything the dirty mind can conceive. BUT, as long as you don't show the actual sexual organs, all is well. All sexual acts in such movies are simulated ones, either in HK or just about any other cinemas.

In short, the difference is sexual explicitness. Soft-core visuals with hardcore sexual themes are okay to pass for cinemas.

The reason for the split is obvious. When an actor performs actual sex in front of the cameras - as supposed to pretend sex - he/she is better known as porn stars. Their skill sets and career paths are quite different. No ambitious and/or hygienically conscious actors want to be seen in such roles. There're also the issues of how are they going to get green-light from their significant others in doing such roles.

This is where this movie has boldly gone where no actor has gone before, and in fact since. Julie Lee - the main lead and director - decided to show actual penetration with her co-actors on screen. And not surprisingly, all her co-actors are unknowns. She would have trouble convincing actors like Anthony Wong or Simon Yam or even lesser known actors who specialised in this area - like Charlie Chow - all of whom have appeared in numerous explosive HK's Cat III sexploitation flicks. Because in all of those movies, they were acting in having sex. Most of the times, they didn't even look like they were having sex; more like some yoga cum kama sutra fusion exercises. Some people called this hardcore porn Cat IV film for this reason, even if there's no such category because it has never been done before.

This movie broke new ground not only in HK cinema, few cinemas in the world have trodden this shaky ground, with a few exceptions of a few European cinemas like French. Well, the French gave us the word "risqué". Their pushing of sexual envelop went back as far as 19th century to Marquis de Sade who gave us another word, 'Sadism'. Vive la France !

Baise-moi (2002) is one such French movie, which was banned in Australia because of its actual sex being shown. This HK film is 7 years "ahead" of Baise-moi.

Julie Lee came from Mainland China, and in this film she added some social/ideological commentaries of HK and China, perhaps in a move to elevate this film more than just porn. The main lead's family is the victim of the cultural Revolution. But this thought-provoking plot was never thicken to any decent width.

The main female lead says that how much the main male lead reminds her of her brother, and then she has sex with him. It ends with a sexual climax while they play to the tune of East is Red (the anthem for the Cultural Revolution). They do this on a clip top overlooking HKIA where international jumbo jets land and take off. This is a metaphor on at least 2 fronts. Afterwards, they plunge themselves to the bottom where they are discovered by a former Communist cadre who ruined her family during the Cultural Revolution. While her family fell victim to the Cultural Revolution in Mainland, she falls victim to her own sexual revolution in HK. The finale is full of symbolisms, I give her that.

This is one of those movies that it can't decide which ways to go by going off in both directions, and usually losses out on both camps of the audience. In this case, it can't make up its mind if it wants to be a serious film with social and ideological comments or simply a daring skin flick that makes inroads into new territory (no pun intended here).

This is perhaps why it was originally dubbed in German (why not French ?), where the film was meant to show in German cinemas, not HK ones. I have also learnt that it had been dubbed into other European languages (like Portuguese). But I have yet learnt that it had been dubbed into Chinese (either Cantonese or Mandarin). In short, this HK blue film (or yellow film in Chinese) is too much to show in HK cinemas. I'm sure the DVD would be available in the HK afterwards.

One can imagine such a film would raise controversy in HK in the film circle (or anywhere for that matter in 1995), and it did. If her intention was to gain publicity for herself (I suspect highly probable), then she had achieved it with flying colour. One of the reason why she wanted the publicity was because while she had did several roles in the HK's Cat III smut flicks before this, she was never given the lead roles because of her age (pushing 40). If nobody offered you the lead role, give yourself one. And that was what she had done.

The sequel to this film was reverted back to the old practice, meaning the actors once again pretended to have sex, and delivered dialogue in Chinese with Chinese and English hard subs. I'm quite sure this sequel was shown in the HK cinemas. The sexual positions are far more outrageous than its prequel because it isn't actual sex, and so there's no regard for reality; the wire-fu sex could be deployed at will. Because of the fake sex, the sequel was able to include the usual suspect of Elvis Tsui - the King (or least Old Hand) of HK Cat III adult flicks - to play the male lead.

The sequel proves that this film is the one and only "Cat IV" skin flick for now and in the near future in HK cinema. If there is one in the near future, this film had pierced a hole through the category ceiling to give us a sneak peak. In the distant future, we'll all be dead.

From whichever one of the 69 positions you look at it, good or bad, this film made headway in HK cinema.


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