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·RĄŁ (1972)
Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 05/19/2008

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.

[review from www.hkfilm.net]

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 02/01/2004

I was hooked to the story until the ending ruined everything. I just can't accept the fact that an intelligent woman who does everything right (Betty Tei Pei) would miscalculate something so obvious. Besides, the ending was way too predictable.


Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 12/28/2003
Summary: Ummm.........

The story is simply about revenge. I think i have seen too much of these type of movies. I just could not get into the movie. I felt bored. The main character feels like she takes up 95% of the screen time. But you know what she is going to do. I did like the dialogue in the movie and the action at the end is more bloody than i ever expected. I guess the moral of the story is love blinds people, or disarms them..........


Reviewed by: balstino
Date: 08/18/2003
Summary: Well made, but quite a bleak movie.

This is a good all round effort but with a strange feel to it. I found some scenes quite disturbing. It is a drama in the style of a martial arts film with high production values. Not really my thing as it is very revenge orientated but it will no doubt please others.

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 04/27/2003
Summary: Recommended but too short!

18 year old Ainu (Lily Ho) is kidnapped and sold to a brothel. Her good looks and wild personality make her very popular with the lustful clients, but also draws the lesbian attentions of brothel madam Betty Tei Pei. Betty teaches Ainu the ways of lust and the ways of kung fu, and Ainu becomes more and more similar to her captor. But rage at her treatment is still burning inside her.

INTIMATE CONFESSIONS... ("Ainu" is the Chinese title) is another wu xia film from ace director Chor Yuen, but this time the exploitation angle often present in his films is brought right into centre stage. Chor Yuen seems to have been fascinated by lesbians, but this is the only film of his that I've seen where he gives them the starring roles. Both Lily Ho and Betty Tei Pei give sterling performances as the beautiful but vicious martial arts hookers, and they're joined by a cast of Shaws starlets in the nude to create a pre-Cat III film that balances action, intrigue and eroticism surprisingly well. The film is the acknowledged inspiration for Clarence Fok's NAKED KILLER, the ultimat Cat III classic.

As with all Chor Yuen's films, AINU is filmed entirely on Shaw Brothers sound stages, and features his trademark opulent art direction and cinematography. The plot is less labyrinthine than in many of his wu xia works, probably because Gu Long was in no way involved. In fact, the plot is probably too straight forward - the film runs less than 90 minutes, and doesn't develop its characters or situations as much as I would have liked. It still has a certain amount of depth and sophistication that is exceptionally unusual in a film centred around sex.

Yueh Hua has a small role as a hapless police officer, but it's undoubtedly the women that are the stars of the film. Even in the action scenes, which are not the main focus but are a pleasant bonus, it's Lily Ho and especially Betty Tei Pei that dominate. Given that neither of the ladies are martial artists they do a good job in the fights, with stunt doubles being noticable but not distracting.

Ultimately its the characters and the situations that make the film interesting, and the art direction, cinematography and naked flesh that make it compelling. I enjoyed the film on a number of levels, and even my girlfriend was positively disposed towards it. I just wish it had been about 30 minutes longer, and spent a bit more time developing its story.

Definitely recommended.

Reviewer Score: 9