16 September 2019 | jadavix
'70s Hong Kong "American Pie"
"Innocent Lust" is a 1977 erotic coming-of-age movie directed for Shaw Brothers studios (world famous for period kung fu flicks) by the famous Chinese photographer Ho Fan.
Three college friends in Hong Kong are sexually inexperienced. Seeing a pornographic Western film at the cinema spurs them on to try to lose their virginity, but a visit to a brothel ("hostess club") ends in failure when shyness gets the better of them.
In class, our protagonist Shi Ta Bang falls for his teacher, a Western lady with some interesting things to say about "women's liberation", ie. that they just wanted to get attention by burning their bras! You'd be hard-pressed to find a professor in today's world as dismissive of feminism as that.
Despite his shyness, it takes absolutely nothing for Shi Ta Bang to be invited out to dinner by the prof, and he is then taken to her apartment immediately afterwards. No wonder he is shy around women - this professor is only slightly less aggressive sexually than the prostitute was. She leaves the door to her room open so that he can watch her changing, and it's interesting to observe that she doesn't wear a bra, despite her attitude to women that burn theirs.
Shi Ta Bang strikes out with the professor as well, when she inexplicably has a change of heart, and tells him to find a girl his own age.
Meanwhile, Pei Tao finds himself falling in love with his beautiful cousin, who - and you might detect a theme here - seems to aggressively encourage his erotic feelings, but then dispels them just as quickly by confiding that she has a boyfriend.
The last friend, the only one who wears glasses, lives with a sexy young maid whom he imagines topless. He rehearses how he might ask her out on a date, but is too awkward around her, and she rebuffs him.
Thus all three friends strike out, and decide to try a nightclub.
Before they get there, we are treated to the antics of another young man, who is smaller, bespectacled, and seems to dress in traditional Chinese garb. Is that supposed to indicate he's unfashionable and unhip? It's interesting that all the other characters dress in Western fashion. He's also not handsome like the other guys, and kind of reminds me of the Japanese murderer Issei Sagawa.
Anyway, he tries to woo a girl, who pushes him into a swimming pool, and then follows her into the changing rooms where he spies on her getting naked. When she puts her hands up to wash her hair we are shown extraordinary underarm hair. This doesn't seem as shocking to the young man as it does to us.
The naked woman gives the guy a beating, and we're not surprised that she packs a wallop, considering she has more underarm hair than the average man.
The three protagonists go to a nightclub where they are surprised to find a schoolmate of theirs working as a hostess. The owner of the night club tries to price gouge, and has three henchmen beat up the guys. They are saved when the classmate pays their bill. In gratitude I suppose, one of the boys intervenes on a date the girl is on with an old bearded man. She thanks him, though it would seem that this intervention probably cost her business and therefore money.
One of the guys goes on the movie's first genuine date when he takes a girl to the beach and they splash around in the water, showing the girl's nipples through her wet t-shirt. This date is curtailed when our boy reads a letter to the girl he is with, which apparently is a love letter sent to her from some other guy, so he "decides never to see her again".
One of the other guys gets caught in the rain with his beau, so goes back to her house and looks to be finally about to lose his virginity. Of course they have to remove their wet clothes, and the girl gets fully naked in front of him. They actually do have sex, in a montage of clips that shows why the director is famous for his erotic photography.
One of the other guys has his first kiss with a girl, painfully bumping his teeth into hers, but then relaxes and has a proper make out session in the woods. He tries to seduce her but she rebuffs him. He is almost seduced by some hostesses at a nightclub, but then the girl comes back and seduces him this time. She undresses, and is seen to be wearing pantyhose with no underpants.
The guy with the glasses has no date for the night and roams around the city, where he is improbably picked up by an older woman on the prowl. She takes him back to her home and offers him whisky. When she tries to seduce him, this time it is the guy's turn to rebuff her, but her stripping naked makes him change his mind, and they have sex.
And that's pretty much it for the movie. It was okay. I didn't care much for any of the characters, and nor did the movie have any real surprises in store. I also didn't care how it ended.