Sexbombs Chen Ping and Hu Chin, top-notch production and comedy that does not descend to the ridiculous help sell Li Han-hsiang's That's Adultery. Stephen Tan reviews.

THE ASIAN VALUES DVD REVIEW

If viewers were let down by Liu Kei's Adultery, Chinese Style (1973), then their erotic appetites must have been whetted with Li Han-hsiang's That's Adultery (1975). Sticking to his tried-and-tested anthology format, Li had sex bombs Chen Ping and Hu Chin in the cast and, for good measure, what's a little skin from the usually demure and prissy "Baby Queen" Li Ching?

But whatever cast he had lined up, the film would not have worked without the required sex and nudity. In the first story, Tsung Hua has his eyes on the four wives of an elderly court official. Viewers get an idea that these four women (who include Li Ching and Chen Ping) are not your stuffy types. They seem to be in ecstasy when groping some door or bell knobs when they are out visiting a temple. Tsung pretends to be a sedan-chair carrier to gain access into the official's household and has (together with the viewer) a good time ogling the official and his wives when they are out for some naughty sex, which includes a lot of toe licking and sucking, which must have seem outrageous at the time of the film's release. Tsung dresses up as the official and, under the cover of night, manages to bed each of the four women. Nine months later, his deed is discovered and he meets a fate that is apparently worse than death. What surely must have warmed the male viewers' cockles is that there is a good share of sex in this episode and more skin shown than what is normally expected.

The second story is set in Japan. While Ku Feng is a conscientious doll maker (still, he is not above painting couples having sex), he apparently neglects his much younger wife who decides to have a fling with customer Wang Hsia while Ku is away during a religious celebration. Much to their dismay, Ku returns home early and the two lovers must concoct various tales to explain Wang's presence in the house, one of which involves Wang hiding inside a large jar in the hall.


The international or at least Asian slant to the stories continues with the third episode which takes place in Korea. Yueh Hua, who has been away, returns for his beloved only to discover that she has married the local official. But she is not the sort to scoff at a good thing and figures a way to share her bed with both her sleeping husband and her lover.

By now, sexpot Hu Chin has more or less been typecast as the scheming wife who has a fling or two behind an unsuspecting husband. Her role is no different in the fourth episode where she is the wife of the owner of a scissors-and-knife shop. One day, while she is making out with her lover, the two are photographed by the photographer who lives across the street. Hu is then blackmailed into having sex with the photographer but then who should stumble into the couple? Her husband, of course.

Infused with Li's trademarks - fine production and camerawork - That's Adultery is not only entertaining but can also be said to be a cut above many of the erotic films that came from the house of Shaw simply because the director stayed with the basics (for a start, competently photographed bodies without being too much of a tease) and shying away from the ridiculous, especially where the comedy is concerned.

Inadvertently, the film also shows that while many women "suffer" the hardship of being married - in return mainly for the security of a home - to get the men they really want, they are also able to subvert the chaste and submissive image they outwardly present. As they say, that's adultery.

Note: The That's Adultery DVD is not available in $ingapore.

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Golden Lotus: Love And Desire
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