Intimate Confesions of a Chinese Courtesan (image 1)

Screened as part of NZIFF 2004

Intimate Confesions of a Chinese Courtesan 1972

Ai Nu

Directed by Chu Yuan

Hong Kong In Mandarin with English subtitles
90 minutes CinemaScope

Director

Screenplay

Qiu Gangjian

Photography

Wu Zhuohua

Editors

Jiang Xinglong
,
Li Yanhai

With

Lily Ho
,
Yue Hua
,
Bei Di
,
Dong Lin

Festivals

Berlin 2003; Sydney 2004

Elsewhere

A deliriously perverse and pulpy martial arts sexploitation film, set in a pungent world of lesbian madams and murderous courtesans, Intimate Confessions offers many subtextual pleasures beyond the usual gratuitous blood splattering and softcore titillation (though there is more than enough of both to satisfy). The story is framed as a murder mystery. Ai Nu (the gorgeous Lily Ho) is the most expensive courtesan in Madam Chun’s brothel, even if her clients are mysteriously ending up dead. Foreplay is a prelude to murder. Ai Nu is secretly exacting a bloody revenge on those who have forced her into prostitution, especially Madam Chun, who is bewitched by her beauty and with whom she has a passionate love affair (apparently a first in its time in Chinese cinema). In a film where both sexual and martial arts are practised with supreme flair and style, the jaw-dropping final tête-à-tête between the two lovers delivers a spectacular pay-off: poisonous kisses, hacked limbs, geysers of blood and broken hearts. — MM