Friday January 20, 1995
The witty, steamy and audacious "Erotique" is composed of three deft, sexy tales from three of today's most venturesome female filmmakers--the U.S.' Lizzie Borden, Germany's Monika Treut and Hong Kong's Clara Law.
Although the film has been rated NC-17 for explicit sex, "Erotique" is not actually hard-core. The filmmakers' clear intent is not pornographic but rather to express a woman's bemused, often complex, view of sexuality. "Erotique," which has ample nudity and blunt language, is a stylish film with an attractive, capable cast that is definitely for sophisticated adults only.
Opening the film is Borden's "Let's Talk About Sex," which she wrote with well-known sex commentator Susie Bright. Vivacious Kamala Lopez-Dawson plays a struggling L.A. Latina actress who supports herself working at a phone sex agency, where she's becoming as fed up with fulfilling male fantasies as she is with discrimination in competing for acting roles. One day, however, she encounters a caller (Bryan Cranston) who is "man enough" to hear out * her sexual fantasies. What happens next is delightfully unexpected, amusing and insightful.
Treut's "Taboo Parlor," set in Hamburg, finds lesbian lovers Claire (Priscilla Barnes) and Julia (Camilla Soeberg) deciding to pick up a man, Victor (Michael Carr), in a nightclub. He's arrogant and macho, but Treut is not content in giving him his comeuppance during fun and games with Claire and Julia, saving him for a fate that many--men, especially--will feel is rather too dire. Even so, "Taboo Parlor" is effectively outrageous. There are cameos by familiar faces: Peter Kern, as the nightclub's bartender, and Marianne Sagebrecht, as its emcee.
Arguably, Law's "Wonton Soup" saves the best for the last. It's the funniest, boldest and the most substantial of the episodes. An Australian Chinese, Adrian (Tim Lounibos), visiting Hong Kong for the first time, is having an amorous reunion after six months with Ann (Hayley Man), whom he met at college in Melbourne.
Eager for more passionate sex, Adrian turns to ancient Chinese sexual techniques, which leads to one of the most hilarious love scenes imaginable. The sequence, however, gives way to the underlying serious, potentially alienating, issue of cultural identity.
Both Adrian and Ann find skyscraper-ridden Hong Kong not very Chinese, and Ann craves to feel truly Chinese while Adrian admits that, try as he might, he cannot feel Chinese at all.
Erotique, 1995. NC-17, for explicit sex. A Group I Films presentation.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times