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Hong Kong 1972
Directed by
Chu Yuan
90 minutes
Rated R

Reviewed by
David Michael Brown
4 stars

Intimate Confessions Of A Chinese Courtesan

Synopsis: 18 year old Ainu (Lily Ho) is kidnapped by slave traders and sold to a brothel. She catches the eye of the vivacious Madame (Betty Tai Pai) and is chosen to entertain four leading socialites of the town. As they initiate her into the world of prostitution she vows she will have her revenge. Forming a torrid lesbian relationship with her captor, she lures the four who have defiled her and kills them in a succession of inventive ways, always one step in front of the hapless police. Inevitably she is cornered by the authorities but her lover stands by her side for a frenzied Kung Fu showdown that ends in a tearful, bloody confession.

A trash classic from the legendary Shaw Brothers studio, Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan has it all; Kung Fu, sword fighting, prostitution, kidnapping, high kicking, vengeful lesbians and gore galore. Massively influential, the film's up-front violence and sexuality paved the way for the adult Category III films of the 80s. Fans of the more salacious aspects of Hong Kong cinema will recognise many influences from Yaun's grindhouse classic in Clarence Fok's Naked Killer, in turn, another classic of the genre.

Yaun's career spans decades and many films for the Shaw Brothers. In particular Clans of Intrigue and The Magic Blade are perfect examples of what the studio was all about. The films look fantastic. Shot on the Shaw Brothers lot, they make great use of the studio sets, Intimate Confessions in particular is shot in a lush, soft focus style that enhances the eroticism on display. Making films until 1993, Yaun's output would put many Hollywood directors to shame, often shooting up to five films a year. It's no wonder Quentin Tarantino acknowledges the great debt he owes the director, in particularly for many moments in Kill Bill.

The film is a joy from beginning to end, the performances from the two gorgeous leads, Lily Ho and Betty Tei Pei are eminently watchable, the latter giving Basic Instinct's Sharon Stone a run for her money in the femme fatale stakes. The action, whilst not as expertly performed as many films of the genre, is fun and the sex and violence is delivered with gusto and great humour. It's a must see for anyone interested in the extreme side of cinema, having paved the way for the exploitation industry of the '80s.




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