I watched this movie over the weekend for two reasons: I like foreign films (read: not from Hollywood) and because the blurb screamed Asia’s Erotic Phenomenon.
The synopsis: Jan Dara is set in the moody and turbulent Thailand of the 1930s. Jan Dara is a Thai young man whose earliest memories are that of his own father having sex with his childhood nanny. In this lopsided and obsessive world, he was cast out of his comfortable but troubled household at the age of 13 after his stepsister accused him of rape. Years later, Jan Dara returns home to seek revenge on his father by outdoing the elder man’s sexual conquests and making him be witness to his triumphs.
I wouldn’t say Jan Dara is an excellent film but it is at least interesting. The movie has frontal nudity shots of the lovely Christy Chung (who is not Thai, btw, but Chinese Canadian), lots of artistic humping and pumping, and pervasive themes of free love, incest and lesbianism.
More than the carnal merry-go-round of the lead characters, I was fascinated by the 1930s fashion displayed in the movie: satin gowns, soft hair perms on the ladies, beaded handbags and crepes-de-chine. If I had the power to turn back time, the 1930s – with its quiet elegance – will be a favorite era.