Issue #233          HOME          E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com        BACK ISSUES            October 11th, 2004

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An Amorous Woman of Tang Dynasty
(1984; Shaw Brothers)

Cantonese: Tong chiu ho fong nui
Mandarin: Tang chao hao fang nu
English: Uninhibited Liberated Woman of Tang Dynasty

 

RATING: 8/10

REVIEW:

One of the most significant and offbeat HK adult films, AN AMOROUS WOMAN OF TANG DYNASTY is a period softcore drama with a decidedly feminist perspective and sexual encounters that are always relevant to the story. Taoist priestess/poetess Yu Yuan-gi (Pat Ha Man-chik) possesses a yearning to experience aspects of life that go beyond the traditional parameters of her station. While associating with the upper echelon of society, she also carries on a torrid relationship with roving swordsman Tsui Pok-hau (Alex Man Chi-leung). Yuan-gi (a gifted scholar who chose to become a priestess, in order to be independent) and Pok-hau (a man who chose to be an assassin, rather than live a mundane life) are a seemingly ideal match but he eventually leaves her to resume his travels in the martial world. In the meantime, Yuan-gi earns the reputation among the townsfolk of being amoral because of the sexual relationship she carries on with her maid, Lu Chiao. Pok-hau returns but soon abandons her again, prompting Yuan-gi to take up with other men. However, when she discovers that Chiao has been impregnated by a man whose identity she refuses to divulge, Yuan-gi's actions lead to tragic consequences.

Pat Ha Alex Man Pat Ha (left), Chang Kuo-chu

Eddie Fong Ling-ching's directorial debut, AMOROUS WOMAN is filled with beautiful imagery and the regal staging seems inspired more by Japanese cinema than traditional HK fare. In a film well-acted by all, it is Pat Ha (easily the most adventurous HK actress of this period) who gives the standout performance: cold yet passionate, determined yet vulnerable. Her daring work, combined with the intelligent screenplay and meticulous production rank this far above the flood of period sex films that followed the creation of the Category III rating in 1989. Fong's original cut of the film ran over an hour longer but reportedly no longer exists, alas. Raymond Lee King-man’s often spare but consistently striking art direction was honored with a statuette at the 21st Golden Horse Awards. Tom Poon Chun-wai (as a scholar attracted by Yuan-gi’s gifts but repulsed by her decadence), Chang Kuo-chu (as a resolute swordmaker), Lam Hoi-ling, Donald Kong To, and Ku Feng also appear.

Alex Man Tom Poon Pat Ha


PRESENTATION:

Previously released on tape and laserdisc in dead center fullscreen, AMOROUS WOMAN receives a much better presentation in this anamorphic rendering, which does full justice to Ardy Lam Kwok-wah’s splendid cinematography. The image is spotless throughout, detail is excellent, and hues are vibrant. The re-mix is okay but does not improve upon the original to any great degree. The English subtitles are very well done but have been synced to the Mandarin track, making it the preferable version for Westerners. The standard Celestial extras are on hand (video promo spots, bios/filmographies, galleries).

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Images in this review courtesy of Intercontinental Video Ltd. To read captions, hover mouse over image.


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Copyright © John Charles 2000 - 2004. All Rights Reserved.
E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com

DVD Specifications

  • Hong Kong Release
  • NTSC Region 3 Only
  • Intercontinental Video Ltd. #103070
  • Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Post-synced Cantonese and Mandarin Language
  • Subtitles (Optional): English, Traditional Chinese
  • 12 Chapters
  • 16:9 Enhanced (1.85:1)
  • 97 Minutes (at 25 frames-per-second)

Ratings & Consumer Information

  • Great Britain: 18
  • Hong Kong: III
  • Quebec: 18+
  • Singapore: PG (cut)
  • Contains moderate violence, sexual violence, nudity, and sexual content

FILM REVIEW RATINGS KEY:

  • 10 A Masterpiece
  • 9 Excellent
  • 8 Highly Recommended
  • 7 Very Good
  • 6 Recommended
  • 5 Marginal Recommendation
  • 4 Not Recommended
  • 3 Poor
  • 2 Definitely Not Recommended
  • 1 Dreadful