The mission of The Department of Afro-American Research Arts and Culture to identify the global significance of the creative contributions pioneered by an international diaspora of Blackness
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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Black Emmanuelle, White Emmanuelle [a.k.a Velluto nero] (1976)

  • Laura Gemser
  • Annie Belle
  • Al Cliver
What we have here is yet another Laura Gemser film being passed off as a part of the popular Emanuelle series. The film has nothing to do with the Emanuelle character and in fact Laura Gemser is simply called Laura in this. The Italian title literally translates as 'Black Velvet', but even that title has little to do with this film. It's also known as Emanuelle in Egypt and Black Emmanuelle, White Emmanuelle (which is the title I saw it under) and to be honest I'm not really surprised that none of the titles really define it - as this is a very hard one to give a meaningful title to. The film takes place in Egypt and basically just follows a bunch of characters. There's no real narrative to the film so it basically just does whatever it likes for ninety minutes or so. We do have a mother character with two daughters and a servant she likes to seduce, along with a chauvinistic photographer and his girlfriend, who he treats badly; by making her pose with a load of corpses, for example. The characters then have sex in various combinations.

The best thing about Black Emmanuelle, White Emmanuelle is undoubtedly the setting and cinematography as the film really does look great and actually it's a shame that the story wasn't better. The beautiful scenery is matched by some beautiful female talent - Laura Gemser obviously takes part although she shares her screen time with other beauties such as Annie Belle, Ziggy Zanger and Susan Scott. The two male stars are Al Cliver and Gabriele Tinti - which lead me to believe that this film may have been the result of the cast wanting to have some fun in the desert, seeing as the two were at the time going out with Annie Belle and Laura Gemser respectively. Curiously, director Brunello Rondi; who I just assumed was a hack, did collaborate with Federico Fellini on two of his most praised films - 8½ and La Dolce Vita. Whether or not you like this film will really come down to whether you value style over substance - there is none of the latter, but the film does look very nice and there are least some memorable scenes. I do have to say I rather enjoyed this film - although I'd have preferred it with some sort of plot.