Sex: The Annabel Chong Story

This 1999 documentary by Gough Lewis (pronounced guff?), which seems to be showing across the globe more for its exploitation value than any other merits, is vacuous filmmaking of a very familiar kind. It deals with University of Southern California gender studies major Grace Quekbetter known as porn star Annabel Chongwho decided to have sex with 251 men over ten hours, apparently in order to prove that women can be deranged show-offs just like guys. She didn’t receive any money for doing this and didn’t contract AIDS, but the film isn’t very clear about what’s supposed to make her interesting or exemplary or pathetic or noble or some combination thereof. Like so many undernourished features nowadays, fiction and nonfiction alike, it proceeds from the principle that if you shoot a lot of varied and seemingly contradictory material and then cut it all together, the truth will somehow emerge from the colliding sound bites. Maybe it did in this case, but if so I was too bored and alienated to notice. The material includes Quek/Chong happily and cheerfully defending her activities in feminist terms, desperately cutting her arm with a knife, visiting her family in Singapore (who don’t know she’s a porn star), sitting on the toilet, and quittingand then returning tothe porn industry; Lewis also presents men in the industry saying and doing various things, most of them fairly doltish but not especially funny. 86 min. (JR)

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