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It is being billed as the world's first 3D porn film, a movie so salacious that Chinese audiences are reportedly flocking from the mainland to more permissive Hong Kong for the chance to see an uncut version.|
Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy will open in the former British protectorate and Taiwan next week. The £2m Cantonese language film is an ornate fantasy with high production values, set at the kinky court of Ming dynasty ancient China. It is ostensibly based on the classic Chinese erotic text, The Carnal Prayer Mat, and follows a young man as he befriends a duke and enters a world of royal orgies and other sexual peccadilloes. The film is also a reworking of an earlier Chinese movie, 1991's Sex and Zen.
Writer and producer Stephen Shiu told local media the film would feature some "very graphic sex scenes". He added: "It will leave audiences feeling like they are sitting right there at the edge of the bed."
Sex and Zen's content means it is unlikely to be screened uncut in mainland China, though there are reports of tour groups planning trips to Hong Kong and Taiwan so that people may see it. Such a development mimics events in 2007, when mainlanders travelled to the island to watch an uncut version of Ang Lee's Lust, Caution, the Chinese cut having excised key scenes which left audiences confused and disappointed.
Last year during the shoot for Sex and Zen, Shiu told Reuters "It's because it's forbidden in China, (that there) is so much enthusiasm in China for this film." He added: "Somehow when you're doing a 3D movie you always want to make an impressive image because the viewers ... are going to buy tickets with double or even triple the ticket price to get into a world they've never seen before. It's not just erotica, they want some 'wow factor'!"
Sex and Zen stars one Hong Kong and two Japanese actors in the main roles and is directed by Christopher Sun. Some are predicting it could be the first of a wave of softcore 3D films, helping the industry to emerge from a period in which it has been hit heavily by free internet porn. However, the costs of shooting in the format have so far proved prohibitive. Nevertheless, Italian director Tinto Brass is said to be planning a 3D version of his notorious 1979 erotic film Caligula, and there are rumours of a 3D porn spoof of Avatar titled This Ain't Avatar XX.