Directed by: Cesare Canevari
Actors: Erika Blanc, Adolfo Celi, Paolo Ferrari, Ugo Adinolfi
Language: Italian (English subs)
Also known as: A Man for Emmanuelle, Emmanouela, i kolasmeni, Moi, Emmanuelle
Description: Abandoned by her man, Emmanuelle (Erika Blanc) sets out in search of the affection she so desperately craves. But while encounters with a depraved writer, a cuckold businessman, and a dim-witted journalist initially leave her sexually satisfied, the lonely pleasure-seeker reflects painfully on her sordid exploits upon learning that her beloved has been killed in a deadly roadside accident.
Now here’s a weird piece of Italian cinema from the late 60s. The first Emmanuelle film ever made (five years before Sylvia Kristel & Just Jaeckin!) and a sort of anti-Emmanuelle in that Io, Emmanuelle must be one of the most depressing sex films ever made. In short, it’s about a neurotic woman trying to find a meaning for her life from sex and just wandering from one situation to another without any control. The few sex scenes this film has to offer are intentionally unerotic and pretty much all characters are just trying to take advantage of each other. Io, Emmanuelle could be seen as a critique of “free love” generation but Canevari also throws in Michelangelo Antonioni / neorealist themes about people living empty lives lost in urban jungles, some late 60s radical politics and experimental storytelling & symbolism (broken mirrors, voices of pigs in the restaurant scene etc) à la Godard & co. It’s so typical late 60s / early 70s art house film that it’s almost hilarious. Still, even though Canevari doesn’t convince me that he’s a great intellectual the film is interesting, and I respect the way Canevari lured the sex film audiences into cinemas using Emmanuelle Arsan’s character as a bait, only to show them everything they never wanted to see. Italian DVD distributor Medusa Video, by the way, carries on the tradition as they also sell this as a typical erotic film, so props to them too…