Thursday, 15 July 2010

Emanuelle – Perché violenza alle donne? / Emanuelle Around the World / Confessions of Emanuelle / The Degradation of Emanuelle

Like a number of the unofficial Emanuelle series, distinguished from the originals by the one M spelling of the character's name, this is known by a confusing plethora of titles, not all of which directly relate to translations of the original Italian, in this case Emanuelle – Perché violenza alle donne? or Emanuelle – why is there violence against women?

Admittedly it’s not the most alluring of titles, especially given the target audience demographic: Emanuelle Around the World, Confessions of Emanuelle and The Degradation of Emanuelle – as were used in various territories – were probably more appealing than something that sounded perilously close to being a feminist tract rather than an exploitation movie.

Then again one of the constants of the Black Emanuelle series is their particular exploitative take on feminism: What sort of red-blooded (i.e. heterosexual) male couldn’t love the character’s liberated ideology of guilt and consequence free casual sex any time, any place, any where with pretty much anyone who asks, male or female? Isn’t it post-feminism avant la lettre?

Story wise the film is, as one perceptive IMDB reviewer remarks, basically Emanuelle in America lite.

That is, it’s again an episodic narrative travelogue that gradually focuses in on one particular topic, a “white slavery”, rather than a snuff movie, ring.

This paradigmatic shift has an odd effect: On the one hand white slavery sounds distinctly passé for a 1970s film compared to the decidedly contemporairy phenomenon of snuff movies, with this quaintness further foregrounded by the fact that our protagonist isn’t even identified as white. On the other hand a simple change of terminology to “people trafficking” would give it a relevance to today’s tabloids.

Though there are again hardcore inserts, at least in the version under review (DVD distributor Severin has released both R and XXX type versions), there is nothing to compare to the fake but uncomfortably convincing snuff footage of Emanuelle in America.

Likewise while there is one scene which implies bestiality, as a snake is encouraged to explore one would-be prostitute’s vagina and a dog to mount another (shades of the contemporaneous US and French hardcore productions The Devil in Miss Jones and Exhibition perhaps) there is nothing to quite compare to the previous film’s more explicit horse masturbation scene.

Equally, however, the presence of this material also indicates that this is hardly the ideal Emanuelle film with which to introduce a Eurosleaze novice to the filone’s often dubious delights.

This is an impression enhanced by some of the curious intertextualities of the casting: Don Powell, who played Black Emanuelle’s father in the non-Gemser, non-D’Amato entry Black Emanuelle 2 here appears as chauffer and assistant to Ivan Rassimov, a UN official who basically plays what would otherwise be the Gabrielle Tinti role. Brigitte Petronio, who appears as a missionary girl in Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals here plays a dissatisfied Roman member of an Indian guru’s cult. The guru himself is played by none other than George Eastman, who had earlier played the main villain in the D’Amato directed but non-Gemser entry Emanuelle's Revenge. Got all that?!

Put another way it’s the kind of film where you need the familiar strains of Nico Fidenco to sort of tie it all together.

Returning to the porn theme, one thing I hadn’t noticed on previous viewing was that the truck driver in the opening sequence is played by US hardcore performer turned director Paul Thomas.


Anonymous said...

I believe you're confusing Brigitte Petronio with Monica Zanchi. Zanchi played the missionary girl in Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals.

K H Brown said...

Indeed I am. I think my confusion came from Zanchi's also appearing in Sister Emanuelle.