Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Emanuelle Around the World (1977)

God, what is wrong with Joe D'Amato? His taste for shocking violence totally upends the Emanuelle films because it goes against their frivolous tone. But he keeps doing it.

This time, as the film begins, Emanuelle (Gemser) is having casual sex with a moving guy in his truck. She's in San Franciso, where she stays long enough to meet a UN diplomat (Ivan Rassimov) and state her philosophy of life and sex: "I'm free. Men and women are equal. It's society that obligates us to be different." So far, so good.

Then it's off to India, where Emanuelle meets a tantric guru who teaches westerners how to have karmic sex and take their money. He's played by George Eastman in lots of makeup and the punchline is that Emanuelle fucks him and thinks he's mediocre in bed. This story is entertaining and the camera work is surprisingly good- stop watching the movie at this point because the rest is terrible.

In the second story, Emanuelle heads to Rome to investigate a sex slavery ring and the focus shifts to violence against women. Yes- in a sex romp. Do you know what's not sexy at all? Watching a man with a hideously burned face anally rape a sex slave. So Joe includes that. This story is quickly resolved- the girls call the cops and share a laugh together about being raped. Then the Rome story ends with Emanuelle introducing a young man to sex while spying on his stepmother and her maid, which is a nice scene, although it doesn't really clean the palate of that anal rape scene.

Emanuelle has a comrade in arms (Karin Schubert) in her crusade- the film was also titled, "Emanuelle Versus Violence Against Women"- and it might sound like feminist subversion. It isn't. Joe D'Amato is titilating the audience with multiple scenes of rape and degradation for its own sake, while ruining the light tone of the series. This film really appeals to those misogynists who were offended by the character's independence in the rest of the series and wanted to see her "get what was coming to her". It's no surprise that another alternate title was "The Degradation of Emanuelle".

Okay, now it's off to Hong Kong to further investigate/be victimized by sex slavers, and we have a scene in which a snake is inserted in a woman's vagina while another is raped by a dog. Jesus friggin' Christ! None of this makes sense in the context of a sex romp! But, they call the cops and laugh about it all, so no harm done.

Then, it's off to Tehran, for more of this bullshit about investigating a sex slavery ring that serves shieks and diplomats. The Emir, however, is nice enough that Emanuelle can convince him of the exploitation involved in his harem and they call the cops and laugh about it all so no harm done. Also, Schubert and Gemser have sex with each other and the Emir in order to keep down high oil prices!

Finally, it's off to New York City where- I'm not making this up- a large group of powerful American Senators and their wives force Miss Ohio to pay off a gambling debt by dancing naked for homeless men who then shock everyone by raping and beating her. So, the girls call the cops- but not before Emanuelle is forced to blow a dirty bum at gunpoint. But all's well that ends well. (Except for Miss Ohio who is left near death). The movie ends with Emanuelle sailing off on a yacht with Rassimov.

Yeesh! The Emanuelle series always had this weird blend of 70s liberated working woman feminism and sex romp hijynx. They're all kind of loopy. But D'Amato's misogynist degradation of women and graphic violence in this one are so completely at odds with the character and the series that you wonder if he really wanted to get even with the fans or just women in general.

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