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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Yuk po tuen: Tau ching bo gam" or "The Carnal Prayer Mat's Stash of Illicit Love")

 

Directed by Michael Mak
Hong Kong 1991

 

Sex and Zen raised the bar on Chinese soft porn when it was released. An erotic comedy about sexual dalliances and their retribution, based on an ancient Chinese literary classic The Carnal Prayer Mat.

Directed by Michael Mak, it is a cautionary tale about a man (Lawrence Ng) who marries a beautiful young woman (Amy Yip) but after a sexually unfulfilling wedding night, decides to set out on an odyssey to conquer as many women as possible. His pursuit for the ultimate erotic pleasure, leads him down the path of decadence, while his hapless bride is forced to work as a prostitute in a brothel. After a series of carnal adventures, with often unusual and hilarious results, the couple is reunited, but not before a sad lesson is inflicted.

Funny and outrageous, with lots of eroticisms, the movie has become a cult hit worldwide, with its lavish sex and imaginative sex scenes.

***

One of the most outrageous films ever made, this Hong Kong fable tells the story of an oversexed scholar who isn't happy with his love life with his huge-breasted wife. After he sleeps with different women, he decides to get a penis transplant-from a horse! His life then becomes a series of wild and raucous encounters that take eroticism-and comedy-to new levels. Lawrence Ng and Amy Yip star.

Posters

Theatrical Release: November 30th, 1991

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Review: Umbrella Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Bonus Captures:

Distribution Umbrella Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:34:40.591         
Video

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 34,286,885,985 bytes

Feature: 31,363,835,904 bytes

Video Bitrate: 32.93 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio Chinese 4169 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4169 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio Chinese 384 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 384 kbps / DN -31dB
DUB:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3861 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3861 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 384 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 384 kbps / DN -31dB

Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Umbrella Entertainment

 

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 34,286,885,985 bytes

Feature: 31,363,835,904 bytes

Video Bitrate: 32.93 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Interview with director Michael Mak (English subtitles) (13:59)
Theatrical trailer (3:16)


Blu-ray Release Date: December 15th, 2021

Transparent
Blu-ray Case inside 0-ring slipcase

Chapters 13

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Umbrella Entertainment Blu-ray (February 2022): Umbrella Entertainment have transferred Michael Mak's Hong Kong softcore pornographic feature Sex and Zen to Blu-ray as their second title entry into their new sub-label 'Sensual Sinema'. The initial entry was Showgirls (1995) and the third will be a double feature of In the Real of the Senses (1976) and Empire of Passion (1978.) Sex and Zen was categorized as a restrictive Category III rating (the Hong Kong equivalent of NC-17 in the US.) There are Asian BDs available but I don't know their quality. This is on a dual-layered disc with a high bitrate and transferred in 1080P. It has some surface scratches and some compression noise noticed (SD bump?) but also some appealing grain. It looks reasonable if showing minor inconsistencies. Colors appear true and un-embellished. Not dynamic but I would guess the best to date without officially comparing.

NOTE: We have added 60 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Umbrella Entertainment offer robust Cantonese and English (DUB) 5.1 surround tracks in lossless DTS-HD Master (24-bit) and lossy stereo for both languages. Sex and Zen has few aggressive moments (whippings, confrontational sexual activity etc.) that come through with modest separations and a score by Wing-leung Chan that adds a traditional musical expression (the film is supposed to be set in a period some 400-years ago) sounding decent if a bit tinny in higher end of the lossless transfer. Umbrella Entertainment offer optional English subtitles on their Region FREE Blu-ray.

The Umbrella Entertainment Blu-ray offers an interview with director Michael Mak for about 1/4 hour, in Cantonese, with English subtitles and there is a theatrical trailer.

Michael Mak's Sex and Zen was Hong Kong's most successful film of this genre spawning a couple of sequels and a 3-D titled, more modern, version (none relate to the story of this initial film.)  I have to admit it is pretty cute in its absurdity (in terms of fetishes) and somewhat erotic. Amy Yip (Erotic Ghost Story, Robotrix) became one of the hottest HK stars of the 90's despite never agreeing to show her full naked body onscreen - notably her oversized breasts. This was accomplished through, what became known as the 'Yip Tease', with discrete camera angles, nipple pasties, body doubles, and careful editing so that full frontal nudity was never visible - although partial shots of her breasts, buttocks etc. fill Sex and Zen. I thought it was more graphic than what we consider 'cheesecake' and there are some aggressive, simulated, sex scenes in a variety of amusing positions. There is a book about Amy Yip's, life by Chaz Gower, HERE. Certainly there is a place for these funny, sexy, films - a resurgent niche of Hong Kong cinema that cropped up in some of the Shaw martial-arts/horrors of the 70's that added an erotic edge with partial nudity and suggestive sexual activity (The Oily Maniac, The Vengeful Beauty, Black Magic, The Human Goddess, etc.) The Umbrella Entertainment Blu-ray has appeal, if light on extras. Yip fans will probably want to indulge.

Gary Tooze

 


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Distribution Umbrella Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray


 


 

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