12 BEST ASIAN EROTIC FILMS
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7. THE LOVER (1991)
Country: France/United Kingdom
Original Title: L'Amant
Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud
Cast: Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Jane March
Though technically not an Asian film, this French/English co-production set in
1920s Indochina nevertheless deserves to be included here for no other
reason than the fact that it features the most erotic sex scenes ever to involve
an Asian male.
Yet another Asian man/Caucasian woman tale courtesy of Marguerite Duras
(whose own experiences presumably inspired the book) "The Lover" is
actually a step forward from "Hiroshima, Mon Amour" in at least one key
area: Instead of being referred to as simply "He" and "She," the film's leads
(Tony Leung Ka Fai and Jane March) are listed in the credits as "The
Chinaman" and "The Young Girl."
May progress never cease.
The very simple story concerns a teenage French girl (March) and a wealthy
Chinese playboy (Leung) who no sooner meet on a ferry than they're torridly
engaged in all manner of sweaty, heavy, breathy, fleshy sex (as if there's any
In-between trysts, the film dwells, more or less, on the cultural and social
consequences of their taboo, interracial relationship -- most notably as
pertains to the disapproval of their respective families.
As tends to be the case in Duras' stories, the relationship is inevitably
doomed, but that doesn't stop Annaud and company from saturating the
audience with some of the most artfully photographed and scintillatingly
staged sex scenes in recent memory. In terms of pure heat, in fact, this may
well be the most erotic of all the films mentioned here, both for women and
For Leung, long a heartthrob in his native Hong Kong, the film is a noteworthy
breakthrough in more ways than one. Boasting a magnificently toned,
muscular body certain to make even his most devoted fans wonder, "Where
did that come from?", Leung invests an otherwise two-dimensional role with
passion and potent sexuality.
8. THE MYSTERY OF RAMPO (1994)
Original Title: Rampo
Director: Kazuyoshi Okuyama
Cast: Naoto Takenaka, Michiko Hada, Mikijiro Hira, Masahiro Motoki
Sadly overlooked and underappreciated by American audiences at the time
of its release, the exquisite "The Mystery of Rampo" was a deserved hit in
Japan and a welcome artistic step forward for the lagging Japanese film
industry, thanks primarily to the efforts of producer and first-time director
Kazuyoshi Okuyama (his father runs Shochiku) who took over for the film's
first director, Rintaro Mayuzumi, when initial results were less than
Inspired by the life and writings of famed 1930s era pulp novelist Edogawa
Rampo, the largely fictional story centers on Rampo's own obsessions with a
mysterious woman named Shizuko (the staggeringly beautiful supermodel
Michiko Hada) who has been accused of murdering her husband in a manner
that almost perfectly replicates the central incident in Rampo's latest novel.
The similarity, of course, is purely coincidental since Rampo's novel was
banned by authorities before it could make it to print.
A brooding and repressed soul, Rampo finds it difficult to cope with his
feelings for the woman and begins writing a sequel to his unpublished novel
as therapy. It is at this point that the line between reality and fiction
becomes less clear with Rampo's own life and that of his detective alter-ego,
Akechi (Masahiro Motoki), becoming increasingly intertwined, each working
at cross-purposes to save Shizuko from the dominating clutches of the
perverse, cross-dressing Marquis Ogawara (Mikijiro Hira).
Lush, romantic music by Akira Senju, beguiling production design by Kyoko
Heya and surreal photography by Yasushi Sasakibara help create the film's
overpowering sense of mood and feverish passion. In the movie's most
powerful scene, Rampo voyeuristically looks on as Ogawara, in make-up and
women's clothing, seduces and ravages Shizuko while a film projector casts
images of graphic sado-masochistic activity on her nude torso -- an image
that is at once unsettling, erotic, hypnotic and utterly unforgettable.
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