In a contemporary review, John Pym of the Monthly Film Bulletin stated that "a reach-me-down mish-mash, padded with flashbacks and what appear to be hardcore sequences, and scissored by many hands." The review also commented on the 3D in the film, as "barely noticeable".
Dutch actress Sylvia Kristel, whose iconic "Emmanuelle" role symbolised the sexual revolution of the 1970s and who spent years fighting drug addiction, has died aged 60 after a battle with cancer. "She died during the night during her sleep," agent Marieke Verharen of Features Creative Management told AFP of the 60 year-old actress who had been admitted to an Amsterdam hospital in July following a stroke. Kristel was catapulted to fame in 1974 aged just 22 by her first movie, "Emmanuelle" which recounted the erotic adventures of a young woman in Asia. A worldwide success, the French film was shown in a cinema on the Champs-Elysees in Paris for 13 years, and seen by at least 350 million people around the world, but Kristel never learned to live with her fame. The image used in the film's promotional poster of Kristel sitting semi-naked in a wickerwork Peacock chair is seared into the minds of a generation of both men and women. With her short-cropped hair, innocent features and slender frame, she lured movie-goers with her "natural erotic attraction" and made "soft-core pornography acceptable", Dutch media said, A series of sequels followed, also starring Kristel, with "Emmanuelle 2" in 1975, "Goodbye Emmanuelle" in 1977 and "Emmanuelle 4" in 1984. She soon became typecast in erotic roles, and admitted to taking acting jobs in the 1980s simply to make money to feed her expensive cocaine habit. "I was a silent actress, a body. I belonged to dreams, to those that can't be broken," Kristel, who for years battled drug and alcohol addiction, wrote in her 2006 autobiography "Naked". Kristel was born on September 28, 1952 in Utrecht, where her parents ran a hotel near the train station. She relates in her autobiography how she was sexually abused at age nine by the hotel's manager. Her parents sent her to a religious boarding school age 11 where she was described as a gifted pupil. But when she was 17 she turned to a career in modelling, winning the Miss TV Europe competition in 1973. Following that success, French director Just Jaeckin chose her to play the title role in "Emmanuelle", which would become one of the biggest French box office successes ever. Jaeckin told AFP in Paris that Kristel was "a wonderful woman, very pure, very innocent. But the mark that Emmanuelle left on her was very hard for her." "Unfortunately, I was expecting it," Jaeckin said of her death. "I'm also relieved that she no longer has to suffer." Dutch film director Frans Weisz lamented Kristel's death on national television, but added: "Sylvia and happiness for me was always an odd combination." She played in several non-erotic films but was then forced to act in "Emmanuelle" sequences because of contractual obligations. Kristel is survived by a son, Arthur, who she had in 1975 with her then-husband Belgian author Hugo Claus, a man 24 years her senior whom she described as a "father lover". Claus was "the father that I would have liked to have had and the lover that I had dreamt of." Kristel turned to painting in her later life, an activity she said was therapeutic, Dutch media quoting her as saying: "Self confidence for me is a fragile fleece." In one of her last interviews broadcast on Dutch national television she said that although she had left her alcohol abuse behind her, she would "not say no to a glass of good champagne." She was first diagnosed with throat cancer in 2002 and underwent a number of chemotherapy treatments, it was reported. Agent Verharen declined to say whether the world's most famous Dutch actress died at home or at hospital. The funeral will be private, she said. Kristel had a stroke following treatment for throat cancer. She was also suffering from liver cancer. "I don't expect much from the afterlife, I think that I know very well what pain is," Kristel said in a 2005 interview with Dutch newspaper Volkskrant. "When I think of the end of my life, I think mainly: I didn't do nothing, but I could have done more."
Jacques Rivette's "La Belle Noiseuse" (1991) is the best film I have ever seen about the physical creation of art, and about the painful bond between an artist and his muse. Winner of the Palme d'Or prize at Cannes that year, it ran to a full four hours, and so its theatrical life was limited. Rivette edited a 125-minute version titled "Divertimento," but why bother with it? The greatness of "La Belle Noiseuse" is in the time it spends on the creation of art, and the creation and destruction of passion.
What I have described so far is merely plot, and in this film plot hardly concerns us. The great central passages of the film involve creation. In his cavernous stone studio, which reminds Marianne of her boarding-school chapel, Frenhofer begins to sketch her. We observe over his shoulder. Rivette use a static camera and long takes. He rarely cuts away We see a blank sheet of paper, and the drawing taking shape there. We see the physical process: First, Frenhofer's obsession with arranging his pens, his brushes, his inks and paints. Then the first tentative lines on the page. Impatient stabs with the sharp pen. Washes of Payne's Grey (my favorite) at various dilutions. His fingers and thumb smearing the washes into rough shapes. Later, on a larger scale, he works with charcoal. Then oil.
The level of sexual explicitness in the official Emmanuelle films varies from arty softcore to full hardcore, although no actual penetration or oral has ever made it to any of the theatrical versions, even in France. There are many who question the place of hardcore scenes at all in the world of Emmanuelle, and ASP has never attempted to mix the two genres after experimenting in the late 1980s.
politics of the early 1970s and the sensational success of Emmanuelle (the biggest box-office attraction of the decade) ensured that soft-core porn and even, for a brief time, hard-core, became mainstream. This was facilitated when major companies became involved in the distribution of porn films, which now played alongside mainstream films at commercial (as opposed to specialist) cinemas: Les Jouissances was distributed by Gaumont and Exhibitimhy UGC. Both films starred Claudine Beccarie and were hard-core porn, in that they showed actual sex acts rather than simulations. Where hard-core pornography is characterised by 'the principle of maximum visibility', soft porn is characterised by 'indirection' and 'masquerade'.18 This is significant with regard to Sylvia Kristel since her image, unlike that of Beccarie or the even more extreme Sylvia Bourdon,19 is not defined by visibly real sexual performances, but by elements of 'masquerade' such as non-sexual performance, costume and the fetishising of the star body and face.
19* Star of Exhibition 2 and other extreme hard-core films, Bourdon's performances included zoophilia. See C. Tohill and P. Tombs, Immoral Tales: Sex and Horror Cinema in Europe 1956-1984, London: Titan Books, 1995, p.248.
The female face is important in erotic cinema, since it is the crucial index of a pleasure that would remain otherwise inaccessible to the camera. Because 'female orgasm takes place [...] in an "invisible place" that cannot easily be seen,'35 the sight (and sound) of female pleasure is often relocated to the face, and in particular the mouth. In hard-core pornography, of course, women's genitals are represented in a repeated search for verification of sexual pleasure, which has been termed 'the frenzy of the visible'36 and 'the will to know'.37 The 'slogan of pornography - "everything shown, everything seen"' -requires the close-up as its 'basic element'38 but where the close-up is genital in hard-core, it is often facial in soft porn. In Emmanuelle and Emmanuelle 2 the frequent sexual 'numbers' tend to be introduced by a lush musical theme and a close-up on Kristel's face, often in soft focus. During sex, the camera again focuses on her face, particularly her partially open mouth and her closed eyes. As well as such facial close-ups, there are images of Kristel's body, at times in medium shot, often fragmented as the camera focuses on her breasts or legs, but rarely displayed entirely naked and never showing genitalia in close-up. This accords with the conventions of soft porn, according to which 'the medium shot of the body [...] closes down on to the sex' but is 'always blocked off by a piece of lingerie, by a thigh movement, by the angle of the framing, etc'.39 Thus, when Emmanuelle masturbates in the first film, the site of pleasure is quickly elided by her thigh and then by her gown as the camera pans up to show her face, the mouth half open, gasping, the eyes shut, in Kristel's characteristic and much repeated articulation of orgasm. Similarly in the sequel, when Emmanuelle masturbates while undergoing acupuncture the upper half of
Billed as the inspirational story of one of the greatest legends of all times, "The Red Baron" is flying, driving and healing Germany at dizzy cinematic heights. There are just not enough superlatives to do this film justice. By Ekkehard Knörer.read more
Only one truly original auteur filmmaker made it into this year's Berlinale Competition. With "Night and Day" Korean director Hong Sangsoo proved himself to be one of the great free-thinking talents of contemporary cinema. This aside, emaciated wishy-washy realism prevailed. By Ekkehard Knörerread more
The god, or not-quite-god, of cinema must be Tithonus, granted immortality but not eternal youth. Casual television watching can offer the same face twice in a weekend, in different versions like phases of a moon. Wendy Hiller, say, with a crusty cameo in Murder on the Orient Express (1974), then as the vibrant heroine of I Know Where I'm Going (1945), or Sylvia Sidney acting her way across most of the history of film, whether for Alfred Hitchcock (The Secret Agent, 1936), Fritz Lang (Fury, the same year) or Tim Burton--twice, in Beetle-juice (1988) and Mars Attacks! (1996). Appearing together in Michael Haneke's film Amour, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva bring with them more than a century's worth of past selves to lay at the feet of their writer-director. 2b1af7f3a8