Sex: The Annabel Chong Story

Director: Gough Lewis

Institute History

  • 1999 Sundance Film Festival


On January 19, 1995, Annabel Chong, a twenty-two-year-old masters student in gender studies, embarked on a marathon crusade to secure fame, notoriety, and a permanent place in the hallowed halls of fornication. Her feat: having sex with 251 men over the course of one ten-hour day, doubling the record set by a sex worker in Amsterdam. What motivates a woman to engage in the “world’s largest gang bang” and who this woman is comprise the subject of this fascinating, disturbing, and intensely provocative documentary.
Clichés define female porn stars as typically deluded and self-destructive, victimized by the patriarchy that controls the industry and consumes its product. Such stereotyping assumes a state of disempowerment that Annabel Chong, an unrepentant, self-styled feminist, defensively denies. For Chong, pornography is a vehicle by which she can exert her will, sate her rampant sexual cravings, and assert her repugnance for societal repression and the “politically correct” constructs of sexual normalcy. But as the camera probes behind the rhetoric and hollow stare of its feisty protagonist, we begin to piece together the complex mosaic of Chong’s inner nature and the troubled history that informs it.
At once explicit and candid, Sex combines multitextured storytelling, graphic footage of the Caligula-style gang bang, and behind-the-scenes interviews with Chong and her Singaporean family, colleagues, and friends. Made with Chong’s guidance and full cooperation, this is first-rate filmmaking, a moving and shocking portrait of self-hood and the politics and psychology of sexuality.

Gough Lewis, Director
Gough Lewis is someone whose needs didn’t mesh with the requirements of formal education. He argued with instructors at Emily Carr College of Art; offended his media instructor at Simon Fraiser University by refusing to cut his controversial short film, New York’s Original Sissy Boys; played in bad-boy guitar bands; worked in a fish factory; and created huge oil paintings in his downtown loft. Then he decided to be a director and made Sex: The Annabel Chong Story, his first feature.

— Rebecca Yeldham

Screening Details

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