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Emmanuelle (Sylvia Kristel), the wife of the French ambassador in Thailand,
Jean (Daniel Sarky), is granted the right to love freely (i.e. shag around)
whenever she feels like it - & she even has 2 shags in the airplane, when
she is flying to Thailand to be with her hubby.
Once in Thailand though she
finds little to do, besides from little erotic encounters with young &
blunt Marie-Ange (Christine Boisson) & her squash partner Ariane (Jeanne
Colletin). Eventually, Marie-Ange finds her a man whom she thinks a suitable
lover for Emmanuelle, the old womanizer Mario (Alain Cuny), but Emmanuelle is
rather intrigued by female archeologist Bee (Marika Green), whom she one day
even follows to a dig somewhere out in the jungle, & there they have
amazing sex ... much to the dismay of Jean, who, when he said she could do
whatever (whoever) she wants to, actually meant she could do
whatever (whoever) he wants to, & in his frustration he hangs
out in whorehouses & even shags Ariane.
He needn't have worried though,
because afer sex, Bee tosses Emmanuelle away like ... well somehting you toss
away ... & Emmanuelle comes back to her hubby, sobbing all the way. &
now Jean hooks her up with Mario for good - even though she finds him less than
desirable -, who has his own philosophy about erotism, & he soon has her
shagged by some natives in an opium den, then offers her to the winner of a
Thai-boxing bout, who shags Emmanuelle publicly.
For some reason, Emmanuelle
now feels whole.
When the movie was first released, it was immensely
successful & did push the boundaries of mainstream erotica considerably ...
but seen from today's point of view, Emmanuelle is a pretty weak affair
(even within the confines of the erotic genre), a superficial blend of
perfectly lit naked bodies, cheesy travelogue imagery, & watered-down
free-love philosophy, all brought together in a dull, unexciting narrative
carried by second-rate actors.
Due to the success of this movie though, a
long series of movies for both cinema & tv followed as well as a string of
rip-offs (the most [in]famous probably being the much more entertaining Black