Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Inconfessable Orgies of Emmanuelle (1982)

And now for the Spanish take on the Emmanuelle films- more specifically Jess Franco’s take on them. Here the character is a more direct rip off- a diplomat’s wife whose name is spelled with two m’s, as opposed to the Italian character who has no husband and one m in her name. The main difference between the French and Spanish Emmanuelles is Franco’s Emmanuelle is horny and promiscuous but her husband does not want her to sleep around. This leads to all sorts of complications because, of course, she does sleep around and it makes him sooooo mad- but of course he forgives her.

Emmanuelle (Muriel Montossé) and Andreas (Antonio Mayans) have come to a sleepy Mediterranean town in order to rekindle their vows and are acting like lovebirds. She soon gets into trouble at a discothèque whose entertainment consists of the sleepiest stripper ever seen on film. Her act consists purely of shifting her weight back and forth from one leg to another in a sequined leisure suit. She stands around looking bored, takes her clothes off, and the drunk wife ends up on stage in a 69 with her. None of this is as interesting as it sounds in the film.

So, Emmanuelle and Andreas break up over this public sexcapade and fuck some people and then get back together. In between, she gets raped by some dudes on the beach, an unfortunate norm in these movies. A more interesting cliché is the progressive 70s ‘sexual liberation’ angle. Andreas comes to realize that monogamy doesn’t suit modern gals: “Maybe the problem is not you, but us. We’ve been brought up with outdated ideas: the couple, the family, the occasional fling. All that will disappear soon. And that will give way to new types of relationships. Maybe to total freedom in love.” Ah the 70s. Can you believe people once believed this stuff?

Anyway, the locations are gorgeous- another cliché with these movies- the lead actress is gorgeous, and the clothes are discotastic. One interesting touch is our narrator Tony, an aristocratic, decadent reactionary who rails about the new generation with their feathered hair and loose morals. He’s a parody of the Spanish aristocracy of the old regime and would make absolutely no sense in anything but a European flick. Of course I liked the promiscuity boosterism as well. And Montossé is lovely.

The problem? Jess Franco. The movie moves at a glacial pace and he has an annoying tendency to let the image go out of focus. Franco has a certain cache, probably because he did a zillion of these movies, but I’ve yet to watch one of his films that didn’t rely heavily on naked women instead of having something interesting happening in the storyline. He should have been a photographer because so many of his films come close to being still photography.

You do have to hand it to them though: the title is fantastic.

1 comment:

  1. I have just downloaded iStripper, and now I enjoy having the sexiest virtual strippers on my taskbar.