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May 13th, 2002 Issue #108a

Hong Kong Digital is a recurring series of movie reviews by John Charles -- associate editor / film reviewer for Video Watchdog magazine and the author of The Hong Kong Filmography.

Women's Private Parts
(2001; Mandarin Films)

Cover art courtesy Widesight.

A Masterpiece
Highly Recommended
Very Good
Marginal Recommendation
Not Recommended
Definitely Not Recommended

Cantonese: Nui yan na wa yee
Mandarin: Nu ren na hua er
English: Women Talk


After spending a fun evening drinking and chatting with some of her female friends, Barbara Wong Chun-chun thought it would be both educational and entertaining to give Chinese women a venue in which they could openly discuss sex, without the distractions a male presence might engender. Using digital video and an all-female crew, she proceeded to interview a number of different subjects, from friends and colleagues to film industry veterans and women practising alternate lifestyles. In the introduction, she states that her plan was to come up with a movie that would help HK men understand their female counterparts better. Or, if that did not work, at least "leave them more horrified."

Director Barbara Wong Chun-chun (centre). Image courtesy Widesight.
Click here for a still of Annabel Chong (left) and Barbara Wong (courtesy Widesight)

Everything is fair game here, including masturbation, sexual positions, strap-on dildoes, unprotected sex, male and female condoms, and initiating sex. Wong also talks to pharmacists about aphrodisiacs, a rep from an organization that provides legal support for prostitutes, a mistress (who says that this relationship with a man is much better than being his wife -- and makes some pretty convincing arguments to support her case), a pair of massage parlor workers, a transvestite, director Ann Hui On-wah, a lesbian couple, Singapore porn star Annabel Chong (who talks about her infamous record breaking stunt of having sex with 251 men in one day), and 70s adult favorite Yum Yum Shaw (who says some very interesting things about dealing with one's past and telling her young son how to handle friends who tease him about Mom's old movies). There is also a sequence in a brothel captured via hidden camera (the authenticity of this bit is questionable but it still serves its purpose).

The participants range in age from a toddler to a woman in her 50s and come from Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shenzhen. While some of the comments specifically reflect what women in this region have to think about (particularly the Mainland mistresses some HK businessmen keep), most of the observations are pretty universal and Wong does a great job of getting relaxed (and often genuinely funny) input from her ladies. In contrast to the norm for these sorts of projects, only two of the participants asked that their faces not be shown (one of them being a gigolo, whose voice is also altered), which is also a credit to the director's sincerity. The editing is choppy, and the end result is not especially stylish or cinematic, but Wong achieved her goal: WOMEN'S PRIVATE PARTS is both edifying and, for men who think that women have no idea what makes them tick, probably at least a little bit scary.

DVD Specs:

WideSight #WSDVD1221 (Hong Kong label)
Dolby Digital 5.1
Cantonese Language (with some sections in English and Mandarin)
Permanent Subtitles In Traditional Chinese and English
6 Chapters Illustrated In the Menu With Clips
Letterboxed (1.84:1)
Coded for ALL Regions
96 Minutes
Contains sexually frank language, nudity, and mild sexual content

DVD menu courtesy Widesight.

Film Board Ratings and Consumer Advice

Hong Kong: III
Singapore: RA


DVD collectors must groan every time a film they want to see turns up on the WideSight label but this is one case where the company's typically sub-standard presentation is not a major detriment. Yes, there is the usual echo-chamber 5.1 mix that adds nothing to the presentation but with the coarse nature of the video footage, there is no additional harm that WideSight can inflict on the picture. The opening few seconds and the end credits are transferred from film, while the remainder is taken from the original video master. The image is soft, weakly colored, and grainy but not unreasonable for a documentary; the location sound recording was adequate and everything comes across. Some background artifacting is present at times but it is usually not a major distraction. The permanent subtitles frequently block out people's names (most of which are provided only in Chinese) but, at least, the English translation is first rate. There are no extras.

WOMEN'S PRIVATE PARTS is available at Poker Industries.

Click here for more information about The Hong Kong Filmography

Copyright © John Charles 2000 - 2002. All Rights Reserved.
E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com

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