[36HKIFF] Sauna on Moon 嫦娥 (2011) – China

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@ 36th Hong Kong International Film Festival

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The much anticipated, banned Mainland movie about the sex industry was actually more disappointing than enjoyable. With a bunch of eagerly awaiting audience looking forward to see some genuine female body parts and beautiful faces, but we are left with over exposure of camera shots focusing on male than their more petite counterparts. It is even more shameful to say that the film was banned in China. When in essence there is really nothing out of place or daring about this film. Surely, it showed the darker side of the sex industry, but it offers no new insights into the oldest profession in the world. Still, despite this, Sauna on Moon is still better than average and for passable entertainment, some fun can still be had.

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The real problem of this film is that no actors/actresses really stood out to be remembered, but rather everyone seems to be happy enough to play bit-part characters. This can be explained by the director (Zou Peng) himself, that he used a lot of people he know and real people from the sex industry in this film. In a way, it is actually commendable to the director for even attempting this kind of touching genre in the Mainland territory. Surely, he had to work within the strict boundaries and cautious restrictions. Even though the film is banned from release, the last thing, Zou Peng wanted is to be banned and arrested from film making forever.

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All in all, Sauna on Moon is not a bad film, but it feels like a product that doesn’t walk the talks, doesn’t show enough feminine body parts to strike a chord with the demanding and expecting audience. Cutting this kind of superficial entertainment value, the film is rather tame in its message of alluding hope, dreams and pursue of what people wanted in life with some famous events like the Chinese Space expedition. The reality is life sucks and it sucks more if you work in the sex industry, but somehow you can still dream in Sauna on Moon. In other words, keep dreaming…
Neo rates it 6/10

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