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Lover of the Last Empress
Chinese: 慈禧秘密生活
Chingmy Yau
Year: 1995
Director: Andrew Lau Wai-Keung
Producer: Wong Jing
Cast: Chingmy Yau Suk-Ching, Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Yu Rong-Guang, Valerie Chow Kar-Ling, Chan Kwok-Bong, Yung Hung, Yuen King-Tan, Guk Fung, Mimi Chu Mi-Mi
The Skinny: Sleazy historical flick that jettisons accuracy for titillating melodrama. Wong Jing's name is on this picture, so you can get a general idea of what's up.
by Kozo:

Director Andrew Lauís semi-serious yet schlocky Category III picture about the last empress of China is an involving, though unbelievable melodrama. Sweet, innocent Yu-Lan (Chingmy Yau) rises to the top of the food chain (Empress Dowager) by learning the art of sex, using it to her advantage, and then being a bitch to everyone who helped her along the way (including Emperor Yu Rong-Guang and his wife Valerie Chow). Helping her is Prince Kung (Tony Leung Ka-Fai), who shares true lust with Yu-Lan for years and years.

Thanks to HK storytelling, all of this historical dramatization seems like high soap opera rather than high art. Hanging the fate of a country on incidents like getting your cat boiled really doesnít ring true; Yu-Lanís loss of innocence is more sensationalized than serialized. Add that to the "sex training" sequences and you're looking at The Last Emperor crossed with Sex & Zen. Seriously though, the film isn't as fetid as your usual Category III, and Chingmy Yau turns in a better-than-usual performance. (Kozo 1996)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Mei Ah Laser
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Removable English and Chinese subtitles

image courtesy of Mei Ah Laser Disc Co., Ltd. Copyright ©2002-2017 Ross Chen