Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan (1972)Director: Chu Yuan
Starring: Lily Ho, Yueh Ha, Betty Pei Ti, Tung Li
Tagline: Revenge has never been so delicious!
Ainu (Lily Ho) is kidnapped and forced into prostitution by Lady Chu (Betty Pei Ti), a powerful brothel owner who can kick arse in her own right, and does so when she finds out her goods have been damaged in transit.
Little miss Ainu puts up a tremendous fight, but eventually she gives in to Lady Chu's demands after one of the servants who tries to help her is killed (Lady Chu licking the blood off her fingers is hot though.)
Some powerful clients of the brothel compete against each other to deflower a virgin and Ainu is given to each of them in turn. Thankfully these scenes are only implied here.
Seeing how good she has been, Lady Chu takes Ainu under her wing and teaches her kung fu. Ainu is soon in demand for the rich and powerful until one day a dead body is found. The local police officer Chief Ji (Yuen Ha) investigates, but he is not able to pin the blamed on Ainu, even though she was the last to see him. What follows is a cat and mouse game between the two, Ainu even tells Chief Ji who she is going to kill and when, but he still can't do anything about it.
Lady Chu's offsider gets jittery as he guesses at Ainu's plan. But Ainu tells Lady Chu she wouldn't kill her, because "she loves her". If you don't see what is coming, you are blind, but when it does come it still has a big impact.
There are only a few swordplay sequences, but they are well placed in the movie with the one at the end being the best one. I won't spoil the ending, but it is really great and really tops off the movie.
This movie was remade as Lust for Love of a Chinese Courtesan, but don't watch that one as its rubbish. Everything that is wrong with that movie is right with this one. You do feel for Ainu due to her circumstances and get to see the progression of her character. It is not gratuitous in the sex and violence either as they are necessary for the plot progression.
I would recommend this movie if you like historical swordplay dramas, but would like to have a female in the lead role. It certainly is different and something you will not forget in a hurry.