Famous Belgian ‘Emmanuelle’ dies aged 60

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Promoted under the slogan “X was never like this”, the Emmanuelle film generated numerous profitable sequels and countless imitations, thanks to Sylvia Kristel’s erotic portrayal of the half-innocent, half sex-crazed Emmanuelle as she gambols naked, joins the “mile-high club”, simulates oral sex, fumbles with other women and fakes orgasm.

Though clumsily directed, badly acted and with risible, badly-dubbed dialogue, to audiences of the early 1970s Emmanuelle looked like the last word in liberated sexuality.

Made when Sylvia Kristel was 22, the film became a sensation, with worldwide audiences estimated at some 650 million. In France, where it was originally banned for six months, Emmanuelle became the country’s highest-grossing film of all time and was screened at a cinema on the Champs-Elysées in Paris for an unbroken nine years.