Saturday, November 20, 2010

Emanuelle in Bangkok (1976)

New theory: the lack of any dramatic tension isn't just a glitch in the Emanuelle films- it's their message. The storyline is Emanuelle, an independent woman exploring the world and sexuality freely and breezily; and the point is to watch her wriggle out of the romantic complications that the directors throw at her. She escapes all plot points. The sensibility of the films comes from a 70s dream of freedom that feels sadly archaic now.

This time, Emanuelle (Laura Gemser) is in Bangkok, arriving by boat with her Italian archaeologist lover Roberto. He wants her to settle down, but she has to be free. You know the drill. She's here to photograph the royal family, but still has time to fool around with a massage girl, the prince and maybe a bellhop- it's unclear. Then, Roberto and Emmanuelle meet up with some square American tourists who represent bourgeois Babbit norms, which she soon liberates them from. In a nutty development, the two couples go see a Bangkok stripper squirt golf balls out of her pussy and are inspired to smoke pot with the prince and massage girl and have group sex. Emanuelle ends up screwing the American and Italian men and retires for nude massage with the Prince. So far, the tone has been dreamy and pleasant and erotic, and little has happened plot-wise. The running time is half over.

Director Joe D'Amato has a taste for shock value that is jarring. A scene with a mongoose killing a snake on film, and one in which Emanuelle gets gang raped by some hippie dudes, but enjoys herself and wins their respect, are pretty offensive, and the rape scene also makes absolutely zero sense- who are these dudes? No clue, but they tell her she's in danger in Bangkok because someone believes she's out to sabotage the royal family, so she leaves. Only D'Amato could deliver a plot point in the sickest way imaginable.

Emanuelle next heads to Casablanca where Roberto is on a dig with his new fiance Janet. Along the way, she hooks up with the American wife, who is now sexually liberated and on her way to Katmandu without her husband. Emanuelle teaches her more about sexual freedom by screwing her on the plane. Then, in Casablanca, she meets Roberto's jealous fiancee and liberates her by taking her to have sex with a group of Arabs, so they split up too. While in Casablanca, she beds at the American consul's home, where his insecure teenage daughter Debbie soon takes to Emanuelle and learns to love herself from her new friend, who delivers the inspiring message, "It's time for you to learn to be a lot more self-confident. You have to believe in whatever it is you're doing." They also fool around in the bathtub.

Emanuelle becomes a mentor to Debbie, telling her that "I learned a long time ago to protect my freedom, to make my own decisions, and live my life the way I want to live it." Debbie watches Emanuelle and Roberto have sex, so he loses his temper and storms out, leaving Emanuelle and Debbie to finally have sex. Complications arise in the last fifteen minutes of the movie- our heroine starts falling in love with the young girl. Luckily, Emanuelle gets assigned to a shoot in Paris about ten minutes later and the two women part with a loving gaze into each other's eyes. Roll credits!

So, to sum up, there's almost no real plot, many of the events make no sense, and the overall theme blends a lot of sex and nudity with a message of personal freedom and self-esteem. Par for the course then.

1 comment:

  1. I have just downloaded iStripper, so I can have the sexiest virtual strippers on my taskbar.