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Emmanuelle  -
Customer reviews (av rating: 3.0):
Great as soft porn, not so good as a movie. : Emmanuelle , released in 1974 was the first soft core porn movie to achieve major box office success ,and this after the French government tried to have it banned. With utter predictability this ensured the film was an overnight success in it's native France , and it also went on to triumph in the USA where it was marketed as an art house movie which is a bit like marketing "Monty Python And The Holy Grail" as an historical movie , but there you go. Based on the controversial 1957 novel "Emmanuelle-The Joys Of A Woman " by Emmanuelle Arsan this is a film with some arresting erotic scenes but one which overall takes itself far too seriously .
The films flimsy plot-when does any porn film soft-core or otherwise have anything but mind-see's Emmanuelle (Sylvia Kristel) leave Paris to visit her diplomat husband in Bangkok , where she mixes with her husbands more sexually adventurous and liberated friends .Her husband encourages her to have extra-marital affairs and she starts by starting a lesbian relationship with archaeologist Bee(Marika Green)When this fizzles out she is placed under the tutelage of sex guru Mario( Alain Cuny) who explains to her how to explore her erotic desires.
That's about it really .Directed by Just Jaeckin , who also directed "The Story Of O" the movie features some truly eye catching cinematography using the exotic Thai locations and the performance of the striking natural beauty Kristel is surpringly good. This is the un-cut version so some of the films more contentious scenes, which have been victim to the censor before have been restored. The notorious nightclub smoking scene which is about as erotic as having your genitals poked with a lion fish is still there as, are the slightly regrettable scenes where Emmanuelle is coerced into things that she doesn't really want to do , which some will view as rape. Emmanuelle is far too plaint a character in this movie , it would have been preferable for her to gain some level of control and independence as the narrative progressed
The last third of the film degenerates badly with some excruciating dialogue and the introduction of some annoying characters and it's seems clear to me director and writers really had no idea where to take the film and the therefore the characters. Still , some of the scenes have retained a very pleasing erotic frisson and it has a certain charm and simplicity in this age of easily accessible internet porn , most of which makes "Emmanuelle" look like a "Flake" ad. The sequels that followed while allowing Kristel ,who bafflingly never followed up on her successes with this move franchise , to invest the character with more assertiveness were a succession of increasingly tawdry copies of the first. As soft-core porn Emmanuelle is probably as good as you will see .Judged purely as a piece of cinema it's not that great but most people will view it purely as the former so it does it's job very well.
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