The story line is completely unlike anything I’ve heard of before; where did the idea for it come from?
The original film of the 17th century classic Chinese novel, The Carnal Prayer Mat, was first shot 20 years ago, so this is a remake of an old movie, but with a new plot and new characters. It’s based on one of those books that talks about sex and is consequently constantly being passed on between people who want to learn more.
Erotic movies are far from new, but 3D Sex & Zen seems to try and bridge several genres, including martial arts, comedy and horror. What were you aiming for?
The film is supposed to be a good mix of everything. I thought that a film that was too erotic or hardcore would drive away female audiences, so I wanted to put a lot of comedy into it. We’re marketing it as an ‘erotic comedy’. I don’t think anyone would pay to watch the kind of films that are already freely available on the internet. They expect some good art direction and cinematography, a good story, good characters, and that’s what we hope we’ve given.
I also wanted to challenge the censorship limits. The film wasn't allowed in China, for example, but after some cuts it's been very well received in Hong Kong. They took issue with a scene where the king kills his concubine during some particularly rough sex, so that scene had to be cut, but apart from that it’s fairly intact.
I thought a soft porn or erotic movie would look interesting in 3D. I was trying to do something different from the normal 3D movies which are all about action. Plus, 3D tends to garner interest from people who might not otherwise be interested.
A lot of the scenes, especially the sex ones, are completely ridiculous. With all the gratuitous sound-effects and women whimpering in an identical way, isn’t it more of a thirteen-year-old’s fantasy than anything an adult would find erotic?
I know a lot of sophisticated audiences will find our film stupid, but I think people who have a lot film viewing experience will be able to see that it has a good story line, which is further enriched by the violence and comedy. Our whole key is to entertain our audiences, and I’m pretty sure we’ve done that.
How do the very graphic torture scenes fit in? I’m thinking particularly of that evil rocking horse...
The torture scenes are all linked to the Prince of Ning, and part of their purpose is to reflect his very brutal character, rocking horse included. I would also argue that sex and violence always come together. In real life, couples always quarrel, and then what comes next? Love always escalates into violence. I tried to make the scenes as convincing as they could be. The torture forces the Wei couple to make sacrifices for their love, as both of them offer themselves up to save the other. It brings out the virtue of human loss, which has a certain beauty to it. I appreciate the scenes will seem quite graphic to English audiences, but it’s much less graphic compared to the Korean and Japanese B-movies we are used to out here.
So what next? The world’s second 3D erotic movie?
The next one will be completely different. It will be in 3D again, but with a bigger budget and more of a straight-forward heroic action story. It’s going to be set in ancient Chinese times and have lots of CGI and special effects. We’re currently in talks with Jackie Chan to see if we can get him involved, which would be exciting. This is only my first film, so the possibilities are endless.
3D Sex & Zen: Extreme Ecstasy is out in cinemas across the country from Friday September 2nd 2011.
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