Lust for Love of a Chinese Courtesan (1984)Director: Chu Yan
Starring: Yu An-An, Hu Kuan-chen, Chang Kuo-chu, Alex Man Ch-leung
Tagline: It's the smallest violin in the world!
A poor young woman (Hu Kuan-chen) is forced into prostitution under the harsh and cruel Lady Chun (Yu An-An) to work at the Merryland brothel. Lady Chun has a lot of influence in the region and also has her own personal hit man Xiao Ye (Chang Kuo-chu) who she keeps in a shed out the back and exchanges sexual favours to get him to kill for her.
The young woman is eventually renamed Ai Nu, but is still being a big problem for the establishment, refusing to see clients and stabbing one of them in the head. Lady Chun feels sorry for her and offers to teach her the tricks of the trade.
Things are complicated somewhat when a nosy constable, Ling Yun (Alex Man Ch-leung) comes to investigate the death and it turns out he once helped Ai Nu when she was destitute. Xiao Ye also barges in on the lady and Ai Nu during a passionate session as he thought someone was being attacked, leading to a flower-eating rage on his part.
While the lesbian love scenes between Lady Chung and Ai Nu are damn hot, I had a big problem with the gratuitous sexual violence at the beginning of the film as it doesn't really serve any purpose. It could have easily been implied like the tactful bushes and other scenery in the sex scenes and it would have made the movie a lot better. I am aware that this movie fell foul of the OFLC when it was originally released in Australia and it had to be re-cut. This is the original restored version.
I had trouble really feeling anything for Lady Chung as she was just so nasty all the time and you don't really believe Ai Nu could change that much. Xiao Ye is the only one you really feel sorry for as he can't win a fight without being cut up and then women want to have sex with him straight afterwards.
This movie was released towards the end of the Shaw Brothers studio life and so things are starting to look a bit tired with their movies by then. The sets and costumes are still great, but you get the sense they were starting to run out of ideas by then and turned to exploitation movies such as this one to make a quick buck. If you like exploitation movies then this movie is for you.