THE ANNABEL CHONG STORY
June 15, 2009
This one creates an internal struggle with me that I don’t usually experience. Say you knew a full-fledged feminist. Say she went to law school and then grad school at USC. Say she studied sexology and psychology and then changed her name and then entered the porno world to try and shake it up from the inside. She doesn’t claim to be damaged, she just wants to “take back porn” from all the men who are in control. Not only does she appear in some of it, she sets out to film herself having sex with 251 men in 10 hours or so. It’s not fulfilling sex, it’s in no way erotic sex, but it takes the essence of porn and distills it to a ridiculous degree. Nevermind that a gangbang is by far the most homoerotic genre of filmmaking. There is one woman and dozens of guys all in various states of arousal. It is barely straight. So back to Annabel, or Grace as her mother calls her. She had a sheltered upbringing in Singapore, moved to England, then moved to Los Angeles. She is also certifiably wacky. Sort of like all the real smart people you talk with who are working on a level you’re not privy to.
Her claims of being a well-adjusted woman crack a bit when we learn of a teenage rape and the coldness of being brought up in such a repressive place. This documentary does a really good job of showing us how friends from her former life react to her new life, and whether or not they know how she’s been earning a living lately.
The director commits the sin of entering a relationship with his subject, something that makes staging doc scenes seem like small potatoes. How can you objectively capture someone’s life if you’re falling for them?
Grace is a smart, tiny, attractive, smart girl, who took her talents into an arena few would pick. It is heartbreaking to see her agonize over telling her parents about her new life.
The DVD includes pretty good extras including the film festival circuit whereby she answers questions from the audience. She is combative, but intelligent.
This film wasn’t happy or in any way arousing, but if you’ve ever wondered what sends a woman into porn, this gives you one reason why.
SEX: THE ANNABEL CHONG STORYTags: 3.7, Documentary, Gough Lewis