Good Riddance – Francois Leterrier’s ‘Goodbye Emmanuelle’ (1977)

9 Jun

I have come to the conclusion that I must be some kind of masochist, because I still keep forcing myself to sit down and watch Emmanuelle films knowing full well they are going to be terrible. And guess what? Number three in the original French series, Goodbye Emmanuelle, is no different.

Hedonistic, spoilt brat Emmanuelle (a returning Sylvia Kristel, with an absolutely dire hairstyle) and her husband Jean (an also returning Umberto Orsini) are now living their decadent lifestyle of apparent nothingness in the beautiful Seychelles. It has to be said, terrible and monotonous acting and plot aside, the locations are, without a doubt, stunning and director Leterrier makes use of all the areas within the Seychelles islands. It’s just really sad to see such gorgeous locations with a bunch of ugly people dumped in the middle of them. I digress… Emmanuelle and her husband are continuing to live their indulgent lifestyle with a bunch of friends and fellow expats who like to play games too. For this bunch of sex obsessed, two-dimensional people, regular group orgies, arranging play dates for their other halves and ignoring their emotional well-being in its entirety are just part of the usual every day routine.

Enter film director Gregory who Emmanuelle becomes more than a little obsessed and attracted to. Cue a major problem in that, for the first time ever in their relationship, her attraction to somebody else makes Jean incredibly jealous and angry. Gregory initially treats Emmanuelle like a whore, questioning her motives and her feelings, asking her if she really desires and likes the way she lives. Unlike her, he can only love one woman at a time. However the more time they spend  together, the more Emmanuelle wants to be with him with finally culminates in a bitter fight between Gregory and Jean. Emmanuelle eventually decides that she wants to be with Gregory and give up the emptiness of the life she has been living but Jean in a jealous rage, plots to try to keep Emmanuelle all to himself. It doesn’t work and she leaves him, hence the film’s title and the incredibly annoying title track on the film’s soundtrack by Serge Gainsbourg.

Sadly, this is another vapid and incredibly bland entry in the Emmanuelle franchise which, irritatingly, has no decent sex scenes to compensate with. It’s a shame that nothing a little more serious was done with the script or story considering it involves Emmanuelle rejecting a lifestyle so drastically that she spent two movies hyping up so much. But then again, an empty film just mirrors the emptiness of the characters and the story. Yes, they’re all living this incredibly sexy and indulgent lifestyle but none of them are really happy. If this film teaches you anything, it’s that empty sex doesn’t equal a happy life, whether that be in a committed monogamous relationship (I’m not even sure Emmanuelle knows what that means…) or an open orgyfest. Even better, it’s all one big fucking lie. It’s not a goodbye at all, she bloody returns eventually for four more sequels in this franchise alone…

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