Friday, September 9, 2011

Sex and Zen 3D: Extreme Ecstasy

Sex and Zen 3D: Extreme Ecstasy, currently playing at the Village East Cinemas, is advertised as a smash hit in Australia and New Zealand, among other places. The plot of the movie concerns an artistic and scholarly young man living during the dynastic era in China. We know this because the emperor is alluded to and all the men and women wear wigs and robes of an ancient regime, though the candor with which sex is discussed creates significant cracks in the historical authenticity. In a nutshell, the young man’s lust for his new wife is marred by the fact that his penis is too small. He goes through a number of lucubrations, eventually involving concubines, before he seeks out medical help. There is a dramatic scene in the office of a pair of would-be doctor/healers, a couple of off-duty gravediggers from a stray Chinese Hamlet who do organ transplants. In the course of the operation, the horse’s penis that is supposed to be transplanted is accidentally flattened, and a dog eats the young artist’s original penis. It must be stated that there is no evidence that Christopher Sun, who directed Sex and Zen 3D, or Mark Wu, who wrote it, were thinking of Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man when they made this film, just in a case anyone mistakenly thinks otherwise. Having a small penis is better than none at all is obviously one of the themes that the filmmakers want to burn into the minds of film-goers, with the assistance of the latest in 3-D technology. There is also a subplot involving a renowned Buddhist monk whose seduction by a beautiful transsexual ruins a lifetime of keeping desire at bay. If this film was a smash hit in Australia, one wonders what its popularity says about the cinematic sensibility and movie-going habits Down Under, no pun intended. Forget about the Chinese demographic; using the success of Sex and Zen 3D as a litmus test, there’s no doubt that any filmmaker interested in producing the as-yet-unmade John Wayne Bobbitt story would find a ripe market in the Outback.

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