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3. ROBOTRIX (1991)
Country: Hong Kong
Language: Cantonese
Original Title: Nui Gei Hai Yan
Director: Jamie Luk Kim-Ming
Cast: Amy Yip Chi-Mei, Chikako Aoyama, Billy Chow Bei-Lei, Hui Hsiao-Dan

     Unlike the previous two entries, "Robotrix" doesn't pretend to anything more than nutty, wacky, outrageous, off-the-wall erotic entertainment. Arguably one of the funniest erotic films ever made, the second of the three Amy Yip films to be listed here (she does seem to crop up in more than a few of Hong Kong's better softcore "Category III" entries) sends up so many conventions of the "cyborg" film genre that detangling them is really futile. Not that genre splicing is exactly the first thing one thinks of when Yip is disrobing on-screen.
     The story here centers on a mad scientist (Billy Chow) who has attained immortality and superhuman strength by depositing his consciousness into an appropriately virile android body. When he's not torturing the kidnapped son of a wealthy sheik, the rambunctious cyber-whacko is testing his new plumbing out on unsuspecting hookers. Unfortunately, as is apt to happen during intercourse with oversexed androids, the hookers all wind up dead.
     And so the police summon the services of a Japanese engineer (Hui Hsiao-Dan) whose equally invincible (and irresistible) female androids (Yip and Japan's Chikako Aoyama) are employed to try and bait the elusive madman. Unfortunately, Yip's stint as an undercover hooker proves a tad too popular, drawing theme park-sized crowds that all but doom that part of the operation. In the end, though, the women triumph, scoring a proud victory for, uh, feminism.
     As per usual, Yip shows virtually everything she's got except for her nipples -- the equivalent of putting a beany atop the Empire State Building. Aoyama, on the other hand, proudly displays hers and, for once, gives the jaw-droppingly gorgeous Yip a run for her money.

Country: France/Japan
Language: French
Director: Alain Resnais
Cast: Emmanuele Riva, Eiji Okada

     Die-hard cinephiles would undoubtedly take issue with the inclusion of French director Alain Resnais' ground-breaking masterpiece on a list of "Asian erotica," but given the criteria, it would be hard to overlook what remains a landmark in cinematic depictions of interracial relationships.
     Written by the esteemed Marguerite Duras -- France's foremost expert on what goes on when Caucasian women and Asian men get together and take off their clothes -- this powerful, compelling Oscar-nominated film details a two-day affair between a married French actress (Emmanuele Riva) and a likewise married Japanese architect (Eiji Okada). Set in Hiroshima, the film begins with one of the cinema's most unforgettable inaugural images: the naked lovers -- known only as "He" and "She" -- entwined and covered in ash.
     The film's high-minded and not-so-subtle anti-war statement doesn't date terribly well, although its visual craft and the stunning black-and-white photography create an otherworldly, almost ethereal quality that few films before or since have been able to match.
     While the intercutting of explicit love scenes with images of Hiroshima's nuclear fallout may not sound terribly erotic to some, it is precisely this artful blend of humanism and eroticism that makes "Hiroshima, Mon Amour" one of the most uniquely sensual movies ever made. Thirteen years before "Last Tango in Paris," Resnais and company covered the same territory more tastefully, more erotically....and without butter. Page 3

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