Much more interesting than anything that actually transpires in the mildly terrible albeit titillatingly titled Chinese Kamasutra would be modern-day interviews in which some of the Chinese courtesan extras talk about their technique in mock nipple-tonguing, since that is one of the unintentionally amusing high points in this otherwise rather tedious exercise in attempted erotic drama and exotically set sexploitation.
Directed by Joe D’Amato, this 1993 Italian import centers on Joan Parker (the lovely Georgia Emerald), a good-natured but somewhat fuddy-duddy British librarian living in China who stumbles across a copy of the ancient “sex text,” digs in, lets her fingers do some walking, and then of course starts having wild, intrusive fantasies that run counter to her real-life proclivities. This yawning set-up allows for lots of unimaginative back-and-forth, as Joan spurns the advances of a Chinese colleague, but also dreams of lesbian canoodling and the like.
The aforementioned Emerald is a natural beauty, but not much of an actress (it’s unsurprising to learn she has no other screen credits), even though she basically just has to approximate a blank slate. The other performances here are similarly challenged, and the material never becomes textured or interesting in any manner beyond the obvious, which is to say involving sporadically unclothed females. Basically, Chinese Kamasutra is a bore, which is pretty damning and problematic, given its title.
Housed in a regular plastic Amaray case, Chinese Kamasutra comes to DVD presented on a region-free disc in a letterboxed widescreen 1.66:1 aspect ratio, complete with a modern-day cover model who is not in the film, and bears a badly Photoshopped lower back tattoo to boot. Its audio options include a dubbed English language Dolby digital stereo 2.0 track and the original Italian language track as well, also in Dolby digital stereo 2.0. The transfer is grainy, and likely not from original film elements. Apart from a dozen motion-animated chapter stops, its sole supplemental feature is an unprocessed (i.e., time-coded), 44-second deleted scene. Amusingly, Chen Kaige is actually credited as the movie’s second assistant cameraman, but I’m thinking it was not the director of Farewell My Concubine. To purchase the DVD via Amazon, click here. D (Movie) D+ (Disc)