Good-bye, Emmanuelle (Edited Version) Reviews
When my parents were asleep or away,
I used to, uhm,
watch this on HBO
after I got bored with thinking I could see the Playboy Channel through
the scrambled white noise thing.
Ok, I know it's lame,
but what do you want? I was 24!
Nah, just kidding.
Much to the chagrin of her husband, Emmanuelle embarks on a sexual romance with the director and finds that he stirs emotional feelings and needs which she thought her years of swinging had deadened. By the end of the film, she is ready to put all of that behind her and head for the new pastures of a monogamous, committed relationship.
Compared to the low smut and tasteless hardcore of much erotic cinema, Goodbye, Emmanuelle is undoubtedly high-class product. The film, shot in luscious 'scope and finely showing the travelogue beauty of the Seychelles, is gorgeous to look at and beautifully composed. Moreover, the performances of Kristel and Umberto Orsini as Emmanuelle and her husband have real depth and emotional truth. He especially well conveys the dumb incomprehension of a complaisant rouÃ© whose free love slogans are a mask for old fashioned chauvinism and ownership values and who feels the tug of jealousy for the first time, too late in fact as his smug indifference catches up with him and he loses the person he shares his life with. His final gambit - lying to Emmanuelle about phone calls and letters from her lover - is the nearest the Emmanuelle series gets to gripping drama, and it's satisfying to see the ropey old swinger get dumped as he fully deserves.
This is an odd, resigned, bitter sweet end to the original Kristel trilogy. It could be said that the series makers are rather having their cake and eating it - that, having made a fortune from promoting lubricious excess and preaching sexual freedom, to have their heroine reject these values and plump for monogamy is rather rich coming from them. But the seventies were an age in which people realised that the sexual revolution got people high but had its come-down; that endless freedom to shag whoever you want is a prison cell not a freedom road. Even more intriguing are the subtle glimpses of the colonialism which allows the wealthy Emmanuelle and partner to indulge their jaded desires - a black caddie revealed at the far side of the frame, a garage with a Shell sign, a mention of the spice trade and pirates with black slaves. The characters live in a paradise which a snake had long ago poisoned. This is poignant social history, and feels the right kind of end to a dream in silk sheets.