Emanuelle in America Film Details
Overview: Hedonistic photojournalist Emanuelle goes undercover to expose the seedy lives of rich and powerful sex cultists and snuff film peddlers in America and Europe.
Tagline: LAURA GEMSER: The bare black Emanuelle in the decadent West!
Review: Any director whose claim to fame is the “scummiest, sleaziest ever to peer through a camera lens” deserves further investigation. With that recommendation in mind I logged onto IMDb in search of further info on another Italian overlord of bad taste, the late ‘great’ Joe D’amato. Just a quick perusal of his accomplishments confirmed yet another treasure of Euro trash cinema. The titles alone promised new forays into Pasta-land chunk blowing: PORNO HOLOCAUST? EMANUELLE & THE LAST CANNIBALS? EROTIC NIGHTS OF THE LIVING DEAD!? That last one immediately conjured up mental snapshots of decaying corpses not just content to eat their prey but exploit collective states of Rigor Mortis in creative ways…. Until I’m privileged by the sight of copulating cadavers I’ll have to settle with one of D’amato’s more conventional movies, which isn’t to say EIA isn’t overflowing with enough outrageous material to put a backed up septic tank to shame. Joe was a true scuzz bag, free of pretension and willing to pump every filth encrusted cent for all it was worth. He did have some talent but like contemporary sleaze master Jess Franco, was choosy about utilizing it. EIA though remains an inspired, disturbing, breezy classic of trash cinema that admirably hoodwinks its audience, constantly alternating between arousing and repellent. If a film embodied the exploitation ethic, this is it; an amalgamation of plot threads, taboos & genres, EIA seems to go everywhere and nowhere. Really a series colourful vignettes as opposed to a plot, an anthology of loosely connected perversions with our heroine starring in each(the better to cover so much base territory in 110 minutes.) It begins on a perfect note with Manhattan pin-ups parading around nude for the benefit of shutterbug Gemser. And then its off from one bizarre encounter to the next: snuff films, personal harems, stud mills- Emmanuel is there for all of it, ready to bed down at a moment’s notice like the liberated woman she thinks she is, starting with a gun-toting Fundy out to save the world from uninhibited sexuality (“The cause of all the disasters of this century!”). E thinks quickly, and in perfect example of grind house logic, unzips her assailant’s pants to show him what he’s been missing (hilarious, but perfectly reasonable from the vacuum of porn rationale). After fellating herself to freedom she’s off on her first assignment, infiltrating the private harem of a reclusive millionaire (there should’ve included titles for each segment) extending her thighs-wide-open policy to the other gals (including a nicely lensed underwater interlude replete with a wealth of gynaecological shots and sapphic gropings a ‘plenty) before witnessing the wealthy libertine’s illegal source of income (firearms) & one woman’s seduction of a horse. Truly a jaw-dropping spectacle, even I can’t dispute uncle Joe reaches a pinnacle of ultra-bad taste here, inducting us into the annals of bestiality with a scene so disgusting and campy, its almost funny in that John Waters sorta way(“Yes Pedro, I’m coming, I heard you call….”).WTF It all comes to a grinding, puzzling halt by the time of E’s snuff coverage and other hardcore frivolity. The graphic but unobtrusive style is refreshing. It recalls the golden age of smut and not the video wasteland of today. He captures the hi-jinx with verve, the polar opposite of today’s wham-bam thank you ma’am approach. I wrote halt and not ‘end’ because that is exactly what it feels like, a dead, screeching halt. EIA has starting pt. and stopping pt. but no true beginning or end. Since it doesn’t work itself up to a full-fledged plot I suppose this approach is appropriate. It’s a slice of X-rated life which doesn’t feature tidy resolutions or pat denouements. The topic of each tangent, sexual gratification and the increasing lengths characters go for it is simply paraded in the film’s rambling method. The snuff sequence is just the natural endpoint really to this slippery 70’s slope of ‘anything goes’ and this sequence alone qualifies EIA for chunk blower status. It’s similar to the POV shots from SALO(another cheerful look into what gets the ruling class off) events recorded on once-removed, 8mm silent film that just emphasize it’s brutal verisimilitude. It’s uncomfortable and eerie how fast & skillfully the film mutates into something far thornier. Sneakily, Joe starts out mildly cheesecake then takes the sexual liberation rhetoric to its logical extreme (cheesecake>orgies>bestiality>snuff) indicting the entire shallow ‘Free’Love movement for the self serving hedonism it became. The hallucinatory set-up, E being shown the unsavoury snuff ropes by a prominent US senator touring a banana republic is something out of a horror film. We’ve traipsed into an entirely different movie by this point. Here, the super-elite allow Emmanuel the commoner a glimpse behind the curtain into their preferred brand of R & R: Little girl, you ain’t seen nuthin yet. The rotten core beneath the sunny outer front, just as fast drawing the blinds back with a wolfish smile- witnessing the depravity of bankers and suits almost daily now, snuff doesn’t exactly seem far fetched. D’amato wasn’t known for pacing so the episodic structure frees him from traditional narrative constraints (which might account for his uncharacteristic energy as he rushes from one outlandish sequence to the next). Some will still find it plodding no doubt but compared to something like EMANUELLE & THE LAST CANNIBALS this wad of sleaze is practically bouncing off the wall with horn-dog enthusiasm. As a capsule of the bygone era of grind house gold, EIA deserves a look-see for adventurous viewers on the look out for forgotten works of the Italian exploitation renaissance. It’s a boundary ignorant piece of provocation that only could’ve been excreted during the 70’s. And check out that soundtrack!
Duration: 100 min
Genre: Adult, Drama, Mystery
Also known as: Emanuelle en América,Emanuelle in America,Black Emanuelle en Amérique,Black Emanuelle – Stunden wilder Lust,Emanuelle w Ameryce,Emmanuelle na América,Emanuelle negra en América,Эмануэль в Америке,Emanuel Amerikassa,Emanuelle Amerikassa,Brutal Nights,Emmanuelle i Amerika,Emanuelle na América,Emanuelle en Amérique,I Emmanouella stin Ameriki