Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Emanuelle in Bangkok (Conclusion, 1976)

Character Name: Emanuelle
Actress: Laura Gemser
Actual Movie Title: "Emanuelle Nera: Orient Reportage"
Known Aliases: "Black Emanuelle II," "Emanuelle in Bangkok," "Black Emanuelle Goes East," "Black Emanuelle En Orient"
Country of Origin: Italy
Character Nationality: United States
Occupation: Photojournalist
Zodiac Sign: Gemini
Locales: Italy, Thailand, Morocco
Release Date: May 7, 1976 (Italy)
Director: Joe D'Amato
DVD: Black Emanuelle's Box, Vol. 1 (1976)
Stats: Third "Emanuelle Nera" film, second with Gemser.

Previously, in Part One.

Part Two: Emanuelle headed for the airport, where she petitioned the immigration office for exit out of the country. She then stripped for the authority in charge, promising sexual favors for escape, both granted. On the way out, Emanuelle ran into the now single Frances, who decided to make her way to Kathmandu. Emanuelle was headed to Casablanca to surprise Roberto. The pair ended up on the same plane until a transfer in New Delhi, and took advantage with a sapphic bathroom break. Black Emanuelle also offered up some bits of personal philosophy: "I never give up, and I never forgo anything... I never think about the future. The present-- It's only the present that counts in life, how much time we lose... I will help you, and you will feel happy."

Emanuelle made her way through Casablanca by coach, bus and foot before reaching the American Embassy, where a representative named Mr. Jackson promised to help her extend a 48-hour visa. A pretty young blond was listening in, and told Jackson she would wait for her father outside. She and Emanuelle shared a meaningful glance on the way out, and the girl later called out to Emanuelle as she hit the street. Debra (Debra Berger) was the daughter of another Debra, as well as the American consul, and had lived in the city for seven years. She was enamored with Emanuelle's beauty and exciting vocation, in sharp contrast to the fat tourists her father usually has to take by the hand. "I know that you are Emanuelle, the famous photo reporter." Debra invited the temporarily indigent Emanuelle to stay with her family.

After a short tour of Debra's home, Emanuelle felt comfortable enough to strip naked for a shower and nap, her new friend looking on much of the time. Later, Debra introduced Emanuelle to Tommy and her father, David (Venantino Venantini.) Emanuelle recognized the former as Thomas Quizet (Chris Avram,) an internationally translated graying author who covered ancient history, and from whose book Emanuelle had learned a lot about Greece. Debra's father made a crack about his daughter's preferring comic books, while Tommy noted he made friends with David because of his abilities to mix and drink alcohol well, for lunch and dinner. Over the course of the meal, Emanuelle told her Bangkok story, prompting David to recognize her as the journalist who discovered the oldest living man in the world, located in Siberia. David also warned Emanuelle of Debra's possessive nature with regard to friends, as she had already busted up several ill-fated near-marriages of Tommy's. Back in her room, Debra explained she'd been smoking for a couple of years after being inducted by a young Swedish archeologist, which reminded Emanuelle of Roberto.

Emanuelle made her way to Roberto's dig by donkey, where she met his lovely bespectacled college/fiancé Janet (Gaby Bourgois.) Emanuelle was happy for Roberto, but was still faced with Janet's quiet jealousy. On a walk with Emanuelle, Roberto revealed he'd perhaps overstated his interest in Janet to bed the girl, who needed to love her partner. Emanuelle felt naked without her camera, so Roberto lent her one. Later, Roberto shagged the petulant Janet while Emanuelle slept in the same tent, and enjoyed his spare hand.

The next day, Janet warmed to Emanuelle during a road trip, while the carburetor clogged with sand. The stranded trio were approached in the desert by Tuareg, a nomadic Arabic warrior tribe astride horses, brandishing scimitars and rifles. Emanuelle decided to ride with their party, and invited Janet, leaving Roberto to his own devices. The pair found themselves among a circle watching a nude black woman sorta-kinda belly dance to music, until Janet decided to join her. Emanuelle soon followed, as did a probable gang-sheiking of booty. After, Roberto jokingly protesting hearing anything about their naughty escapade.

Roberto took Emanuelle back to Casablanca, where he was briefly introduced to Debra. Later, Emanuelle was happy to receive her camera and other items from Bangkok through the help of David. "I'll never be grateful enough to your daughter." David approved of their friendship, though he bemoaned Debra's mercurial temperament. Since her mother died in childbirth, David had drowned his sorrows, leaving Debra much to her own devices. Thomas Quizet criticized his friend's alcoholism, though there might be hope for him when David returned to the United States in six months time. Emanuelle thought it was strange that the sharp tongued pair were otherwise so different, yet old friends. The pair initiated Emanuelle into their circle, with David insuring, "You can count on us for the rest of your life." Surprisingly, no three-way followed, and in fact the middle-aged men never appeared in another Emanuelle movie. Related?

Roberto and Janet visited Emanuelle, which gave Gabriele Tinti more time to fiddle with his glasses in lieu of characterization, and Janet the chance to dump him. "We're not engaged anymore, and the truth is we never really were... I won't miss you, for that matter." She had a lot more notches she wished to add to her near pristine bedpost. Emanuelle kidded her that she had more than she was mentioning, after that night with the Bedouins.

Back at the house, Debra showed Emanuelle her paintings for the first time. Emanuelle said she was talented, and that she wouldn't claim something she didn't truly believe. Emanuelle also gave Debra a pep talk about her self-confidence, seeming increasingly like an inspirational Wonder Woman, but with occasional hardcore inserts instead of a magic lasso. Debra had abandonment issues, though Emanuelle made it clear her job would carry her away eventually. To soothe her friend, the pair bathed each other over the soothing tones of the love theme from "Emanuelle in Bangkok," obviously sans cock. English lyrics include, "Sweet Emanuelle... I want to say goodnight, just as your mother would."

Walking through a marketplace, Emanuelle continued to improve Debra's self-image and offer her own philosophy. "I don't even know what kind of woman I am anymore, and I stopped thinking about it a long time ago... I was able to achieve my freedom. And I choose my life. Men, friendships, what I want to do, how I want to spend my life... You still have to learn not to be scared of anything..." Roberto spotted the girls from his ATV, and offered a ride home. He was pretty much immediately in Emanuelle's bed, devouring her. Debra silently, though conspicuously, looked on from around a corner and fondled herself. Roberto caught her out of the corner of his eye, stopped everything, and began mocking her. Emanuelle felt, "Your irony is stupid and out of place." Roberto began to manhandle Debra, insinuating she was a pervert. Emanuelle threw him out, and offered solace. "Men assault you when they are weak, when they're losing, and when they are not able to understand." By solace, I also mean cunnilingus.

Emanuelle met with Thomas Quizet, and told him about being over heels in the love that dare not speak its name because its tongue is still sore from last night. Quizet admired the dichotomous Debra, and explained that Emanuelle's strong infatuation might be driven by her being every kind of desirable woman to Debra: mother, friend, mentor and lover. He also warned that she should allow pleasure to turn into a dangerous game. "Consider that everything; sex, pleasure, is a game. It's wonderful, but it's a game all the same." Quizet took rolls of Emanuelle's film to deliver to her director, and confessed he would have liked to sex her up. Emanuelle considered the same, but the time was just never right. "The world is not that big, and I am sure that we'll meet again."

Emanuelle seemed genuinely in love with Debra, and decided to break off her pseudo-relationship with Roberto. In her confusion, she maybe even considered setting down roots? Then again, she recognized the absurdity of it all-- the allure of the taboo.

Debra showed Emanuelle a painting she had done a Nera nude, then presented Emanuelle with a letter from New York. She was being sent on an assignment to Paris, but was still without her passport. Ashamed, Debra revealed to a suddenly stern Emanuelle that she had been hiding the passport since her father retrieved her camera. Emanuelle softened, but both women knew their time was over. At the airport, Emanuelle swore to never part with her painting, then turned and left without a kiss or another word... and that shitty, goonie alternate score kicked in as the credits rolled.

Notes: This was the third "official" Emanuelle Nera film... at least as official as a knock-off series can get. However, it's only the second for actress Laura Gemser, who was replaced in the first sequel by Shulamith Lasri. I offer as a fan wank that you could either count Emmanuelle: The Joys of a Woman (1975) as the second Gemser "Nera" appearance (and a crossover to boot) or ignore "Black Emanuelle 2" entirely, as that actress played a different character. Besides, "Orient Reportage" was actually released before "Black Emanuelle 2," and was the first directed by the series-defining Joe D'Amato.

In the French version I saw, Thomas Quizet is named "Tommy Griffith" in the credits.

Venantino Venantini ("David") had played "William Meredith" in the first Black Emanuelle, the infamous polo player in "Emmanuelle 2," and would next appear in "Emanuelle and the White Slave Trade."

Summation: One of the most coherent Black Emanuelle stories, even if it was soap operatic nonsense with weak sex scenes and a crippling lack of fucked-up shit. Also the most clearly influenced by the official Emmanuelle films, with the Prince, Quizet and even Emanuelle herself offering Mario/Jean philosophical nuggets. You've got the young girls being lead into the ways of raunch, the doomed Sapphic romance, the jealous lover, the post-rape consent, etc. etc. This film really needed to mix sex and death in disturbing ways, which is one advantage "Black Emanuelle 2" had in tying to the rest of this series.

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