Erotic stars Chen Ping, Tina Chin Fei and Wang Ping Pin fail to sex up Women Of Desire, a film dragged down by its melodramatics. Stephen Tan reviews.

THE ASIAN VALUES DVD REVIEW

Watching this film, it's easy to assume that Women Of Desire (1974) could have been Lui Kei's first erotic movie as a director. Sure the main cast is in place - sex goddesses Chen Ping, Tina Chin Fei and Ai Ti. But the amount of nudity and sex simply pales besides that found in Lui's earlier Sexy Girls Of Denmark (1973).

Unlike Li Han-hsiang's erotic movies which focus on human foibles, Lui tends to look at stereotypes and then stir the mixture with a large measure of melodrama. Lui starts the film at a nightclub. In the wuxia (sword-fighting) movies, the teahouse is a key element of the action; in Lui's world, it is the nightclub. If the teahouse is amoral - it is either a safe or dangerous place; the nightclub is predictably decadent and where bad things mainly happen.


Tina Chin Fei
 

At the club, socialite Chen Ping, though married to Wang Jung, fancies singer Ling Han. Wang, on the other hand, has his eyes on singer Elaine Chin Yen Ling. Present at the club is Tina Chin Fei - though married to the disabled Lui Kei (the director in an acting role), she is having an affair with stockbroker Wei Hung. Meanwhile Wang Pin Pin is scheming to swindle doctor Woo Fung.

The opening nightclub sequence features a "flashback" of Wang having sex with Chen, where he says having sex with Chen is like "squeezing the fruit of all the juice." This scene is a bit of a tease and viewers' expectations are heightened when, during a slow dance, Wei nibbles on Tina Chin Fei's ear and the sex goddess gets all steamed up.

The next scene that catches the eye is when singer Ling Han tries to seduce his publicist Maggie Li, who decides to cool things down after a prolonged kiss. Basically this scene shows what a cad Ling is and he is only interested in what he wants - wealth and fame.


Woo Fung (right) in drag
 

On a pretext of being ill, Wang Pin Pin gets Woo Fung into her apartment. Trying to get Wang out of the bathtub, Woo falls into the tub himself and this leads to what is, for some, the highlight of this movie. Woo removes his wet clothes; then to retain some modesty, he puts on Wang's panties and her see-through nightgown. If the viewer is quick, he can get a glimpse of Wang's bare flesh in the scene. Wang meanwhile drugs Woo who then tries to "seduce" Wang with a strip-tease dance that involves removing the panties he's wearing. Someone is certainly getting off from this scene though it is not sure who - Woo Fung, who plays straight guys in his many movies, finally gets to be naughty; or the director, who is putting competitor leading man Woo in his place.

If sexy Tina Chin Fei on a vibrating bed is considered titillating, then Chen Ping having wild sex in the backseat of a car is another highlight. If all these sound like a riot of sex and nudity, that's all there is. While the sex do enliven things a bit, the film is so melodramatic that it really drags you down. From the start, one already suspects that things will only go downhill. After he has satisfied himself with Chen Ping, singer Ling Han leaves for the United States, leaving Chen in a miserable funk. Tina Chin and her boyfriend succumbs to a drug overdose; and Woo turns deranged when he discovers that Wang has been pulling his chain all along.

 

Softcore porn, hardcore morality - that's how the film bills itself. The film would have been more entertaining if Lui had added some wit to it. As it is, none of the characters are engaging - the men are mostly scumbags - and the women are no better. Only the Maggie Li character gets off lightly, though she too yearns what the other women want - love, but it's a difficult world where what the men want is only sex.

Note: The Women Of Desire DVD is not available in $ingapore.

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