LOVE AND SEX OF THE EASTERN HOLLYWOOD: What's the story?

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LOVE AND SEX OF THE EASTERN HOLLYWOOD: What's the story?

Postby Brian Thibodeau » Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:23 pm

I watched this movie a while back and was rather impressed, even if I knew there were "industry" references that were flying over my head.

The movie is about four struggling starlets and their various adventures on their way to the top (or bottom, as the case may be). Athena Chu is apparently playing a mock version of Sandra Ng, Angie Cheung allegedly does Veronic Yip, Pauline Kwan plays a character purported to be based on "Kenny B's ex-wife", Kathy Chow is supposed to be Maggie Cheung, personal favourite Monica Chan plays a version of a supposedly well-known radio hostess (and gets an absolutely ssssmokin' lesbian makeout scene with Athena), and Karen Yeung plays a character named Hung, who's reputedly based on a real-life starlet who was sold into prostitution overseas.

So my queston is:
Saywhatnow?

The only decent review I have read for this film is from Tim Young's Kowloonside.com. He makes the connections I've listed above, but remains himself somewhat outside the circle of gossip. So I'm wonderig if anyone can fill me in on the "back stories" portrayed in this film, in particular, the "Silver Chicken" incident that I believe is referenced by the Karen Yeung character and ALSO supposedly portrayed in the 1996 HK film REBEKAH. Who was this actress in real life that was sold into prostitution in god-knows-where? Some of the other references in EASTERN HOLLYWOOD are more blunt, such as Athena riffing on what I assume are rumours regarding Sandra Ng's sexuality, as well as what I would presume is the sexuality of a particular HK radio host (played here by Monica Chan). Angie Cheung's character is shown getting a boob job that secures her downhill slide into category III softcore flicks, which is apparently a take on the career of Veronic Yip, who did the same in HIDDEN DESIRE, TAKE ME and PRETTY WOMAN.

Can anyone here confirm any of this s**t? I nearly wrote the movie off as a passable piece of low-budget rumour-mongering, but now the rumours have gotten the better of me and I want to know more.

Anybody care for a good gossip?
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Postby Brian Thibodeau » Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:35 pm

Just found another review that give a little more info, but still can't identify the "Silver Chicken."

http://www.lovehkfilm.com/reviews_2/love_and_sex_of_eastern.htm

(and yes, I was aware it was Pauline SUEN, not Kwan. Not being near my review at the moment, I put the "kwan" in Suen's full name, in the wrong spot . . .)
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Postby Mike Thomason » Fri Nov 11, 2005 12:26 am

Brian Thibodeau wrote:Just found another review that give a little more info, but still can't identify the "Silver Chicken."

http://www.lovehkfilm.com/reviews_2/love_and_sex_of_eastern.htm


The "Silver Chicken" portion alludes to actresses like the late Pauline Chan, who was rumoured to have worked in Brunei in a shady "cash for starlets" scandal. Of course, Chan denied it at the time - but Hong Kong has a long history of mainstream actresses being lured outside of Hong Kong into surrounding SE Asian regions for brief stints on the club/prostituion circuit that stems all the way back to the seventies (if not longer). I thought you would have made the connection? "Funroy" substituting for Brunei?

And yes, Paulyn SUEN's character was based upon Theresa Cheung. I did see the radio DJ, that Monica Chan's character was based upon, named somewhere...but can't find references now...maybe I'll find it for you after work...

Cheers,
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Postby Brian Thibodeau » Fri Nov 11, 2005 1:39 am

You know, I secretly expected Pauline Chan would enter into this discussion. While I knew little of her private life outside of a few sordid tidbits that no doubt contributed to her fateful leap off that building, I had sorta figured if anyone MIGHT be involved in a scandal like that, it would be someone like her. I actually thought she was an OK actress, but she did a handful of really sleazy, cheap movies in the 90's, including DEVIL OF RAPE and SEX FOR SALE that seemed to put paid to an almost-promising career and indeed seemed like the kind of Category III films actresses were more often co-erced into making rather than taking on voluntarily. I think some of her sex scenes are even repeated from one film to the next, but at least one of them puts her through the wringer, so to speak. I actually thought she was quite good in one of her final films, PARAMOUNT HOTEL.

Yeah, I suppose Funroy would have been more obvious had I known Brunei was the destination of choice those responsible for "farming out" HK starlets. Man, there must be some interesting tales behind such a racket! Then again, I suppose the HK tabloid press would have been filled with such tales at the time. If only I could have read them....

So Teresa Cheung is Kenny B's ex in real life? Is it safe to say she wasn't known as a very nice person? I notice she's only got one film listing (from 2004!) in the DB, so can I assume her specialty was something else, like music?
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Postby odresel » Fri Nov 11, 2005 10:14 am

OK, here are some partial responses:

Yes, Teresa Cheung is a nauseating, second-class socialite who, without visible means of support, traipses around Hong Kong in designer togs looking for rich and not-too-intelligent men to sink her fangs into...shallow is too deep a word for her.

The actress at the center of the "Sliver Chicken" bit is meant to be Yolinda Yan Chor-sin. If you look at her filmography you'll find a gap from 1992 to 1998...guess where she was? She was one of a number of actresses and models lured and hired off to Brunei by Prince Jeffri Bolkiah, younger brother of the Sultan, who was the Finance Minister at the time. Prince Jeffri spent millions on projects which had little obvious benefit for his country, including the twin-tower skyscraper, known as "t*ts", as well as selecting cuites for his notorious harem, to which Ms. Yan belonged for a while.

He was sacked from the government in 2001, I believe, after squandering gazzillions of dollars of Brunei's money on these things, and the harem was disbanded. Ms. Yan came back to HK earlier -- the girls Prince Jeffri recruited were never meant to stay more than six or nine months -- and "starred" in 1998s "Chinese Torture Chamber Story II." She was promptly parodied in "The Love and Sex of..." but in fact that character is probably meant to be just a composite of a large number of starlets who made the Brunei Airlift in the 1990s.

I'll get back later with the name of the radio talk show host.
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Postby odresel » Fri Nov 11, 2005 1:33 pm

More on this film:

The Monica Chan character is supposed to be Winnie Yu. Winnie Yu is now the executive director of Commercial Radio in Hong Kong, and has come under fire for caving into government (and Beijing-emanating) pressure to fire outspoken, anti-government radio talk show host Albert Cheng. It seems she's finally become "one of the boys" haha :roll: ... and a sign of how things are going here, unfortunately.

Miscellaneous: The 'Royce' boutique which figures prominently as a plot element is meant of course to be JOYCE boutique, the favorite haunt of Hong Kong tai tais.

There is a continuity error at the start of the film where Paulyn Suen and Karen Yeung are seen entering a 'Royce' boutique in Tsimshatsui, and later an SUV is seen leaving the same shop in...Causeway Bay!
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Postby Brian Thibodeau » Fri Nov 11, 2005 4:09 pm

Beautiful!

Now I know the real story behind Yolinda Yan's "disappearance!"

I remember when I first watched CHINESE TORTURE CHAMBER II a few years back and looked her up, I was puzzled as to what seemed like a sudden (despite the absence) shift into glossy sleaze after appearing in a handful of decent movies (including BULLET IN THE HEAD, of all things!). All I could find on the English web was references to an extended retirement, that sort of thing!

WOW!

So were these women "forcibly" recruited or were they willing participants in these "airlifts?" I mean, if one was to go by the portrayals seen in EASTERN HOLLYWOOD, it's clear there's an type of person within of the Hong Kong celebrity culture which the word "shallow" would hardly begin to describe. Could Yolinda Yan, perhaps, simply have been very responsive to the money offered?

As for Winnie Yu, if she looks anything like my beloved Monica Chan, and made out with Sandra Ng in real life the way Monica makes out with Athena Chu in this film, then I'm willing to put politics aside! Down boy!

Also, is Theresa Cheung still swanning about town playing her socialite act? You speak of her in the present tense, Odresel, so I have to wonder if she still fancies herself in the spotlight the way she did around the time this film was made.

And thanks for clearing up the "Royce" thing. That was one of the questions I was going to ask next. When I first watched the film, I could only assume there was more going on than I was aware of, so I was sort of forced to simply take everything at face value - you know, the stuggles of competing starlets in an unforgiving industry. I think the only portrayal I could recognize was the rif on Veronica Yip, which of course made me greatly suspicious of every other performance in the movie being "about" someone in real life.

The funny thing is, I'd previously have given this movie a 3 out of 10 if I were to rate it, since without the background knowledge, it doesn't appear to have any bite. WITH than knowledge, however, I think I'd move that review up to a 5 or so just for the sheer audacity of it all. Hardly a classic, but obviously more interesting the more the viewer knows, and definitely a representative byproduct of a city with a notorious tabloid culture.

I suppose one could compare movies like EASTERN HOLLYWOOD to the direct-to-video and made-fo-TV movies that often get made in the west about whatever scandal was recently in the headlines (Long Island Lolita, Beverly Hills Madam, Martha Stewart), but I have to say I'd take the Hong Kong variant over it's American counterpart any day. EASTERN HOLLYWOOD is remarkable in that it squeezes so many real-life people through the wringer in its short running time - it really is like a supermarket tabloid (of which I'm told Hong Kong's are without rival) come to life, claws bared and teeth gleaming. On the right day, and in the right frame of mind, a film like that can really hit the spot, even if one supposes the careers of gals like Athena Chu, Angie Cheung, Pauline Suen, Kathy Chow and Monica Chan are probably not particularly well-served by the fall-out (not that any of them were likely headed to A-list roles in the first place).

A big round of thanks to Odresel, Our Man in Hong Kong!
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Postby odresel » Sat Nov 12, 2005 8:47 am

A pleasure to help.

I don't think many -- if any -- of these actresses were "forced" into going to Brunei. My understanding was that they were paid "employees", given free room and board of a very luxurious sort, expenses, clothes, and a very large bonus on being "discharged" haha...although there are stories of some being kept there against their will for a while even after they'd got fed up with being very high-class call girls. There are plenty of stories about has-been starlets doing fundamentally the same thing in Hong Kong on a less organized and less open basis (Pang Dan's name comes up in this connection from time to time...)

I find Winnie Yu quite repulsive, actually. I am sure you can search the web for current pics, if interested. The truth is, that these actresses are to a large extent more attractive than some of the people they portray. Give me Athena Chu -- who happens to be a former student of mine, BTW -- over Sandra Ng any day. Oh another thing, big news here is that Sandra Ng is pregnant, and she won't say by who :P .

Theresa Cheung is very much in the news here, although she is something of a local joke, a joke only she doesn't get. She has also tried to revive her sagging fortunes by getting into the skin-flick market, and appeared in "Colour Blossoms." Only in the Philipines could she get an award for something like this...see the following:

http://www.cinemanila.com.ph/citation_cheung.htm

What is interesting in a generic sense about TLASOTEH is that is was made at a time when HK cinema was capable of almost instantly producing a film on a hot current topic. Today, with the industry in the state it's in, and all the pressures to conform to the demands of the Mainland film market, that's just impossible.
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Postby Brian Thibodeau » Sun Nov 13, 2005 5:21 am

Oscar Wilde once wrote: "There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about."

I think Graham Chapman also said it in an episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus, but I digress...

No matter how badly the notorious Hong Kong press portrays her, they are keeping Theresa Cheung in the spotlight. And there's no doubt she'll bask in every last flicker of a papparazzi's flashbulb. That article on her is absolutely priceless! I'm not usually one for gossip rags, but the Hong Kong media really is in a class all it's own.

Once again, Odresel, my sincerest thanks. EASTERN HOLLYWOOD just gets better with every post you make!

I tried a Google image search on Winnie Yu, but it brought up just about every Winnie Yu but the one I'm looking for. Oh well. If she's some kind of sea-donkey, it's probably better that I don't see proof as it could affect my concentration the next seven or eight times I watch dear, sweet Monica sucking Athena's face off and grabbing her pert bottom. Oops, sorry, thinking externally again....

Anyhooo, you mention Athena was a student of yours? What do you teach, if you don't mind me asking? I suppose I'm probably the only one here who doesn't know, since I haven't been posting as long as you, but now I'm curious.

And now I'm also curious about Diana Pang Dan! The things we Big Noses just don't know when we live outside the inner circle! I'm guessing Ms. Pang's adventures in "the trade" were somewhat less opulent than those undertaken by Ms. Yan? My absolute favourite movie of Pang's is THE IMP (1996) in which she manages to ride Mark Cheng fully naked for a good two or three minutes while practically inventing new ways to obscure her own nipples from the camera. In spite of it, it's still one of the hotter sex scenes in recent memory. Odd to hear your news in spite of such a prudish move on screen.

What is interesting in a generic sense about TLASOTEH is that is was made at a time when HK cinema was capable of almost instantly producing a film on a hot current topic. Today, with the industry in the state it's in, and all the pressures to conform to the demands of the Mainland film market, that's just impossible.


God, I'm gonna miss those days...
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Postby odresel » Sun Nov 13, 2005 8:19 am

From last to first:

From time to time actresses like Pang Dan and a number of other has-beens are photographed or reported seen emerging from the home of (usually) a fat, middle-aged business man, having obviously spent the night there. Rumours are that there's a business behind these liasons, and if you have the cash and the connections, you too can bang one of these ladies. How true all this is, I really don't know. When things are denied often enough, they acquire believability, don't they?

Yes, I share with you a high opinion of THE IMP...funny how the scene with Mark Cheng is what everyone remembers, even though there are far more explicit scenes elsewhere in the pic.

I've never mentioned my (very modest) connection with Athena Chu before. It was a long time ago, before she was famous. Well, before she was famous outside the institution I taught at and when she was only a children's television program presenter with a small following of classmate-fans. I recall she sat at the back of the room surrounding by her groupies, paid very little attention to the class, and I in turn paid very little attention to her, which I, errrrrr, now somewhat regret. Let's just say I'm in the arts education field.

Try googling "winnie yu radio" I think you'll pick up something about her. Also, maybe you should stop the Winnie/Sandra thing, and shift your paradigm to a Monica/Athena romp... I have to admit, as hot as they are together, my favorite Athena film is RAPED BY AN ANGEL 4: THE UNIFORM FAN. That scene where she lies on the sofa and pulls her Girl Scout uniform up over her thighs.....Jeeeeeeeezus, did I really once give this girl a C-??????????
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Postby Brian Thibodeau » Sun Nov 13, 2005 7:16 pm

Oh, don't worry, thoughts of Sandra Ng going sushi have yet to cross my mind, even with all this discussion of EASTERN HOLLYWOOD. I still like her as an actress, particularly in the GOLDEN CHICKEN films, but yeah, Athena and Monica have been the focus of my thoughts throughout this thread.

I've read stories before about the "perks" of wealthy Hong Kong businessmen, and how nearly every actress seems to end up with one in some way or another (in good ways and bad), so the Pang Dan stuff isn't really that surprising when I put into a cultural context, although it certainly makes me wish I was a wealthy Hong Kong businessman! The trophies are rather nice... ;)

I rather enjoyed RAPED BY AN ANGEL 4, and I distinctly remember the scene you're talking about getting an instant replay or seven, although I think it was actually in RAPED BY AN ANGEL 2, which bore the subtitle UNIFORM FAN. Athena's in RAPED 4 as well, playing the same character. If only these had been category III, but then I suppose she probably wouldn't have been in them!
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Postby Brian Thibodeau » Sun Nov 13, 2005 7:17 pm

Double post. Deleted.
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Postby odresel » Mon Nov 14, 2005 12:51 am

You're absolutely right, it was RBAA2...I just got so worked up thinking about it, I couldn't type straight :?

About the businessman/actress thing, I don't think it is in anyway unusual for this to happen anywhere in the world. Rich guys in public positions always find babes. How else did that disgusting lard-bucket of a failed violinst-turned-eye surgeon, Patrick Ho (now the Secretary of Home Affairs here, good grief...) even get Sibelle Hu to marry him? (That, plus the fact that his position with the government here effectively protects her from problems arising from her well-known relationships with the triads in Taiwan...) What I was alluding to is that there are persistent rumours that these Pang Dan/Mr. Big relationships are "strictly business" and even in some cases handled through a middle man (or woman, more likely.)

I love the GOLDEN CHICKEN films, too, and I like Sandra Ng a lot as an actress without finding her attractive... there are stories about her swinging both ways, though, which won't die.

Also, I seemed to be the only person in Hong Kong who didn't know that her baby's father is apparently her boyfriend, director Patrick Chan.
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Postby STSH » Mon Nov 14, 2005 1:35 am

There's a wealth of juicy bio-tidbits here. How about someone filleting them out and adding them to the appropriate biography entries of the actresses ?
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Postby Brian Thibodeau » Mon Nov 14, 2005 4:27 am

About the businessman/actress thing, I don't think it is in anyway unusual for this to happen anywhere in the world. Rich guys in public positions always find babes.


Waaaahhh! I wanna be rich, TOO!

No fair.

(Stomps off to sulk)

:evil:
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