Film Commentary [6-19-00]
Porn biography - - Sex: the Annabel Chong Story
Genre: Documentary
Grade = B

Some people will do anything for fame. Climb a mountain, shoot a rock star or President, just about anything. However, Annabel Chong's claim to fame is having sex with 251 different men in 10 hours, and its all captured on film

In 1995, Annabel Chong, real name Grace Quek and from Singapore, was a student at the University of Southern California. She was also a porn star whose films included titles like "I Can't Believe I Did the Whole Team!", "Sergeant Pecker's Lone Hearts Club Gang Bang" and "What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing in an Anal Movie". Seeking more attention and fame, Grace and her producer thought up the idea of setting the world's record for the number of sex partners in one day with goal of doubling the then current record of 150 to 300. It would be filmed and named "World's Biggest Gang Bang".

After sending out video invitations to find the 300 and starting filming, she manages 251 before becoming injured. The video is released and became one of the greatest selling porn titles in history. She also becomes world famous, appearing on the Jerry Springer show, and other talk shows around the world. She even participates in a debate on sex with the famous Oxford University debating society, considered a training ground for future British prime ministers.

However, not all of this film is about porn. The documentary film makers follow Grace everywhere from her apartment to school to Singapore where her parents don't know about her employment yet. We learn a lot about Grace, like the fact that she really needs a good dentist (worst teeth I've ever seen on film). She is also capable of being incredibly stuck up and obnoxious, and at the same time seriously mentally ill. One year after making the video, her record is broken by another porn queen who manages to get to 300. She falls into a depression and in the most shocking scene in the film, starts slashing her forearm with a kitchen knife. The entire audience (98% male) winced at the footage.

After making several more porn flicks, Grace quits the porn business to concentrate on her schoolwork and other activities. In one of the final and pathetic scenes of the film, she visits her parents in Singapore, however, she also visits her old community college professors who know full well about her exploits. One squeals to her mother about her escapades. Her mother considers her to have disgraced the family honor (remember, she's Chinese). Her mother begins to pack Grace's things for her to leave and tells her she can return when she has recovered her dignity, all the while Grace cries hysterically. The truth is hidden from her father because he is in too poor health to take the news. In the final scene, she returns to the porn industry.

This documentary is the first film of director Gough Lewis. By interviewing her friends, family and associates, he attempts to put together well rounded biography that doesn't focus solely of the porn. However, he does need some more experience. He shows far too must of Grace spouting off her feminist verbiage attempting to justify her choice of lifestyle. It all sounds like psycho-babble. But more interesting and humorous were the comments by the various producers and directors of the porn industry. Some even seemed to think that she cheapened the adult film industry with her exploits. He also struck inspiration when he intermixed the mother speaking of how proud she was of her daughter's accomplishments not knowing of her porn stardom with scenes of Grace in action or her graphic language.

This documentary is capable of producing very mixed reactions. One, such a subject matter is at least interesting, considering I knew absolutely nothing about the porn industry. On the other hand, the director has problems following through on the comments that Grace makes. Another problem was that some of the footage was of particularly poor quality. More like a bad home movie than a documentary film. One other drawback was the fact that you eventually get tired of Grace's pontifications, rendering entire sections of the film boring. However, you eventually get to find out what Grace truly is, a very sad, pathetic and fragile figure, far more concerned with being the center of attention rather than anything really substantive. Even more pathetic is the fact that she still hasn't gotten paid for making the gang bang film.

Although the film involves pornography, there is very little graphic footage (except one scene where her producer is being interview while she's getting hammered in the background). There are many nude scenes and very graphic language, and although no one under the age of 18 were allowed to buy tickets, it really wasn't very erotic or titillating.

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