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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

Emmanuelle: a phenomenal film

AFP  Paris, October 19, 2012
First Published: 14:29 IST(19/10/2012) | Last Updated: 18:58 IST(19/10/2012)

The iconic softcore erotic film Emmanuelle, whose heroine Sylvia Kristel died overnight aged 60, became a phenomenon with 350 million people having seen one of the most successful French films ever.

In the year it was released, 1974, alone, it was France's biggest film success with nine million box-office entries.

"This film opened the floodgates," the producers said of the film, which was an incarnation of sexual freedom in the 1970s.

Emmanuelle described the erotic adventures of a young woman in Asia, played by Kristel.

People flocked to see it around the world, with people from Athens, Caracas and other capitals stampeding in their enthusiasm. It was shown in a cinema on the Champs-Elysees in Paris for 13 years.

For the first time couples queued to see an erotic film, which could almost pass as an art film.

Emmanuelle was adapted from an erotic bestseller of the same name, written by Emmanuelle Arsan in 1959.

The producer Yves Rousset-Rouard, who wished to entrust his project to a young director, approached the talented photographer Just Jaeckin, who was thrilled at the chance to make a feature film.

Jaeckin's went on to make other erotic movies, The Story of O, and also with Kristel, Lady Chatterley's Lover in 1981

When it went to the censors in 1974, the filmmakers were told that Emmanuelle would be banned unless several scenes were cut. However, the death of President Georges Pompidou brought in a new culture secretary who allowed the film to be shown.

The music for the film was composed by Pierre Bachelet.

A series of sequels followed, also starring Kristel, with Emmanuelle 2 in 1975, Goodbye Emmanuelle in 1977 and Emmanuelle 4 in 1984.

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