AND MOANS (2007-HK)
review by Neo
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For a director who is well-known for his blood, gore and sex appetite, Whispers and Moans is relatively tame for a Herman Yau film. With A Mob Story and Gong Tau, under his belt, Yau is easily the best director alongside Derek Yee in 2007. For a movie that is about the controversial sex industry, it is rather surprising that Yau prefers to show an insight into the enlightened sex trade, rather than the tried and true formula of showing the part of female’s bodies that count. However, for once Yau should be lamented for being too tame and by not showing what really matters, the director in the process turns off more audience of a certain gender than glue them to the screens with bloody noses. Still, the film rarely venture into boredom and if you can discount the highly unnecessarily transsexual scene, the film ends in an redeeming manner and ends up being quite credible.
It is always a delight to witness Neo’s former flame, Athena Chu back on the big screen and despite being a decade older, there are still some of the former sparks of sexiness that made her so daringly attractive. For someone who isn’t tall, Athena is amazingly sexy with a terrific body shape and utterly natural curves. With that being said, it is a shame that her role is that of a “mama san” rather than a sex worker. Still, Athena handles her scenes ably and at times carries the film with both of her shoulders. It is amazingly humorous, when Athena bursts out in a scene about how much she enjoys being a hooker and the fun and carefree life that goes with it. After all, what kind of job allows you to enjoy yourself to the point of organism and getting paid at the same time? Ironic as it seems, but it is seemingly true.
A frequent in Herman Yau’s films nowadays is Mandy Chiang who plays Nana, just as you would expect anyone else who is named after the now cliché – Japanese Live Action adaptation of the anime – Nana. It is common knowledge that Nana means rebellious, cool and of course a damn cool hair style to boot. Her hair is stylish and perhaps one of the few shinning points within the film and at times even overshadows her less than perfect outlook. In a movie about sex workers in HK, who can forget to mention about the mainland chick Misia Chan Mei-Hei. Yau seems to be using the mainlander to portray a hardworking hooker who works rounds after rounds, but like everyone else she is still ultimately human. In the scene beside the pool, Happy finally explodes as the seemingly poster girl for the sex industry, doesn’t really enjoy her work, but it is the money that enables her to achieve a future ambition. Perhaps, Yau is suggesting that people are no longer working because they enjoy what they are doing, but rather for the sake of monetary ambitions. Like Neo, who is about to enter the auditing/accounting industry, it is safe to say that it is not going to be enticing, but rather he can use the money to buy things that he likes, to offset the losses.
Ultimately, Whispers and Moans aren’t really a normal Yau’s film that portrays the realism of the sex act, but rather a film that attempts to provide an insight into the much lauded industry. It is unfortunate that Yau fails to explore the subplot of fighting for the fundamental aspects of human rights in a more prominent manner. While the ending might seem to be redeeming, the film ends up not meaning much and the lack of skin does not help the cause. Still, Whispers and Moans is a credible effort, but pales in comparison to Yau’s two aforementioned 2007 ventures. Perhaps Yau should just stick to what he does best –sex, gore and blood…
I rate it 6.75/10.
on this movie on HK Neo Reviews Forum
Starring: Athena Chu Yan, Candy Yu On-On, Mandy Chiang Nga-Man, Yan Ng Yat-Yin, Monie Tung Man-Lei, Misia Chan Mei-Hei, Don Li Yat-Long, Patrick Tang Kin-Won, Ken Lo Wai-Kwong, Karen Tong Bo-Yu, Bonnie Wong Man-Wai, Kenny Wong Tak-Bun, Emotion Cheung Kam-Ching
Directed by: Herman Yau
Genre: Sex Workers