5:12pm

Wed April 6, 2011
The Two-Way

Even Before Its Release, 3-D Porn Film Causes Commotion In China

Next week, Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy, a $3.26 million 3-D porn film, will hit theaters in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

The Guardian reports that the movie is already causing commotion in the country: Like in 2007 for Ang Lee's Lust, Caution, Chinese in the mainland are planning tours to Hong Kong to watch an uncensored version of the film. The Guardian reports:

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.

Reuters was on the set of the film, last year. They reported that making the movie in 3-D was in part a ploy to revive an industry that's been "hit hard by free Internet porn."

Britain's The Independent reports the tactic may be working: Thousands of tickets have been sold and least five tour groups from the mainland have reserved trips to Hong Kong for the May Day holiday.

The paper reports that filmmakers are cutting different versions of the film so it can get past censors in different Asian countries. The paper quotes filmmaker Stephen Shiu Jr. as saying that he doubts anyone "has ever seen a film like ours."

"It will leave audiences feeling like they are sitting right there at the edge of the bed," said Shiu.

The film was originally billed as the world's first 3-D porn. But, according to the Hollywood Reporter, the filmmakers were beaten to the market by a the South Korean film Natali:

That film was announced in June 2010, filmed from last May through September, and released last October. Shiu was unreserved in his fury for being pre-empted: "I think that is despicable behavior. The makers of Natali rushed their production to steal our thunder. But at the end, the audience voted with their feet. That film was a failure everywhere it was released."

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.