Urban Cinefile
"When you read a newspaper or watch TV, don't forget this is horseshit. "  -- Primary Colors director Mike Nichols on media rumours that the White House applied pressure during filmmaking
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday, December 5, 2017 

Search SEARCH FOR A VIDEO_FILE
Our Review Policy OUR REVIEW POLICY
Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE

Help/Contact

SEX: THE ANNABEL CHONG STORY

SYNOPSIS:
In 1994, Annabel Chong (real name Grace Quek) was an outspoken 22 year-old University of Southern California gender studies student with a promising career ahead. Somehow, by January 1995, Grace was compelled to set the world record for having sexual intercourse with the most men at one time - 251 in 10 hours - making the porn video hit The World's Biggest Gang Bang. Appearances on Jerry Springer and Howard Stern followed, as Grace enjoyed her newfound iconic status. Gough Lewis’ exposing documentary examines how this well-raised Singapore girl became a legend for all the wrong reasons, and what happened to her afterwards.

"Although this documentary is overlong at 86 minutes, Annabel Chong is more articulate than what's perceived to be the intellect of the average porn star and she makes this guided tour around the porn industry a fascinating one. The lead up to and filming of The World's Biggest Gang Bang (surely one of the most unerotic concepts in pornographic history) is an effectively shocking and compelling counterbalance to Chong's personal story which is both heartbreaking and disturbing. Heartbreaking because Chong does convince us of her sincerity in wanting to confess to her parents but disturbing in the exploitative way in which the camera lingers on her mother and father before revelations are made. They are set up as unwitting victims and it leaves an unpleasant impression. Chong/Quek is a fascinating subject whose iron-clad belief in the political statements she's making through her art are at times astute and well-formed and at others resemble a hazy grab-bag of post-feminist rhetoric thrown together into less than cogent raison d'etre. You only have to look at the success of Boogie Nights and the number of documentaries made in recent years on the subject of pornography (The Other Hollywood and WADD: The Life And Times Of John C. Holmes to name a couple) to realise porno is chic again almost three decades after Deep Throat. Ron Jeremy (participant #251 in the gang-bang) is almost a household name now and judging by the amazing box-office business this documentary has already done in Australia, Chong is sure to follow suit. There's little purchase here for the raincoat brigade but this portrait of aberrant lifestyles and career paths has an undeniable fascination which makes it worthy of attention."
Richard Kuipers

"In times past, people who disgraced themselves were publicly whipped, beaten, or stoned. Today, entire talk shows and documentaries are dedicated to them. On the surface, it would seem a study about the real Grace Quek's motives behind her abhorrent achievement would provide a piercing insight into the evils of porn, empowerment of femininity, and the Western v Eastern cultures of individuality. Not so. Lewis's has made less an insightful documentary and more a rollicking raunchumentary. In fact, the press notes contain more insight about Grace than the film. Born an only-child to middle-class teacher parents in Singapore, Grace attended an all-girl convent, had few friends, and soon became rebellious. She prepared for law school, got caught up with born-again Christians (receiving an exorcism for her burgeoning sexual urges), and moved to London at age 16. She was gang raped, moved to California for a more liberated education at USC. There she experimented with drugs, promiscuity, lesbianism, and pornography. By 1994, she had made her first porn film, adopting the name Annabel Chong (her parents never discovered her double-life), and in January 1995, made the unimaginatively titled, World's Biggest Gang Bang. A daring psychological experiment or, pardon the pun, a big fat mistake? You be the judge, if you don't mind explicit sexual images. To his credit, Lewis allows Grace to present the gangbang as her feminist statement, and she speaks with a relativist double-talk that's nothing more than pseudo-intellectual chop-suey. The fact is, Grace is a victim; of the porn producers (who promised her $10,000 but never paid up), and of the documentary itself, which by its very nature promotes her illusion of celebrity. The most ironic moment comes when Grace is on the set of Gang Bang 2, as another woman is about to bed 300 men in 10 hours. Grace puts on a brave face as her 15 minutes of fame is about to be, well, stripped. Like Miss America, Grace kept her crown for just a year. This could have been that rare, piercing film about the one porn star who has something to say that's worth hearing. Alas, it's another example of models, playmates, and porn stars being better seen than heard."
Shannon J. Harvey

Email this article

CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

SEX: THE ANNABEL CHONG STORY ®
(US)

Documentary featuring: Steve Austin, Robert Black, John T. Bone, Seymore Butts, Annabel Chong, Charles Conn

DIRECTOR: Gough Lewis

PRODUCER: Hugh F. Curry, David Whitten, Gough Lewis

SCRIPT: Gough Lewis

EDITOR: Kelly Morris

RUNNING TIME: 86 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Potential

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 26, 2000 in Sydney, Perth;
November 15, 2000 in Adelaide
Brisbane tba







© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2017