ASIAN VALUES DVD REVIEW
Lotus Pan (1992), based on a classic Chinese tale, has all the
ingredients for a potboiler - adultery, sex, murder and revenge.
The premise of the tale is attractive enough that veteran director
Li Han-hsiang has made (practically) the same movie at least three
(Huang Mei-tsing) is told by wine-stall owner Madam Wang that
her brother-in-law, Wu Song, has just been released from prison
and advised Pan to leave town as she murdered Wu Song's elder
brother, the biscuit seller Da Lang. Pan then recalls her beginnings,
especially her introduction to sex. If the name Wu Song sounds
familiar, it's the same character - the tiger killer - from The
Water Margin (Outlaws Of The Marshes aka All Men Are Brothers).
Pan was a
14-year-old maid working in a rich household. One day she discovers
her mistress having sex with a male servant and devises a way
to extort money from her mistress. Left on their own, Pan ends
up having sex with the servant as well. While asleep on the bed,
the old master enters the bedroom and is quickly turned on especially
by Pan's bound feet, and thus starts a long liaison between the
When the mistress finally discovers what's happening, as a punishment,
she offers Pan to Da Lang, an ugly-looking midget who sells biscuits
in the market. The marriage could have worked if Da Lang was as
virile as Pan wanted it - when it came to sex, she was insatiable
at this stage. As things go, Da Lang was finished just as Pan
was beginning to get aroused.
Wu Song turns
up one day for a visit and Pan is totally smitten by the strong
and good-looking man. That night, Pan slips into Wu Song's room.
As Wu Song was asleep in a drunken stupor, Pan climbs onto him
and works herself into a frenzy. But Wu Song wasn't that drunk
and the two end up having the sex of their lives before Wu Song
finally regains his senses and throws Pan out.
Back to the
recent past and Pan catches the attention of playboy Xi Menqing.
In one of the film's highlights, Xi is drunk in bed and Pan decides
to take a bath.
To arouse herself (after all, what else can this lonely woman
do?), Pan gives new meaning to the term "rimming it" with the
bathtub. Out on the street, Wu Song hears that Pan, who is indentured
to Madam Wang, can be bought for 100 teals of silver in marriage.
On the day of the marriage, Wu Song has Pan and Madam Wang brought
into his room. Instead of the expected bridal chamber, the two
women find themselves before Da Lang's altar.
Li Han-hsiang made The Golden Lotus in 1974 and one can imagine
the sexcapades involved since it starred the leading sexpots of
the day - Tanny Tien Ni, Chen Ping and Hu Chin. But that is probably
considered pale next to Li's 1991 remake, The Golden Lotus: Love
And Desire. This shot-in-Taiwan movie is nothing but an excuse
to move from one sex/nude scene to another. The 1992 version,
though it bears the Shaw Brothers presentation logo, was probably
shot in Taiwan too and one gets the impression that it was as
if Shaws were helping Li out by distributing the film! (After
all, Li was financially down at that time.)
the source material, both the '91 and '92 films have Tan Lap Man
in the leading role. In fact, Tan played Wu Song and Xi Menqing
in the 1992 movie, not that the noted Hongkong musician made any
strong impressions. Where the films differ is that in Love And
Desire, the focus is on Xi Menqing and, in The Amorous Lotus Pan,
the focus is on Pan Jinlian. As the seductress, Huang Mei-tsing
doesn't add too much to the role - she only has to drop her clothes
at the opportune moment (which happens rather frequently), and
there is no great drama involved. But for a Shaw movie, there
is a good amount of sex and nudity - much more than what viewers
would see in a Liu Kei production.
But no amount
of heaving breasts, (faked) moans, bare buttocks and even a glimpse
of pubic hair was enough to entice viewers to flock in droves
to this relatively studied remake of an erotic classic. By the
time The Amorous Lotus Pan rolled, Hongkong viewers were already
extolling the virtues of Amy Yip who was so enticing in 1991's
Sex And Zen.
Note: The Amorous Lotus Pan DVD (Celestial/IVL) is banned in