Emanuelle in Egypt / Velluto nero (1976)

3.0 out of 5

The name associated with the softcore Black Emmanuelle, White Emmanuelle is that of director and Federico Fellini collaborator Brunello Rondi who's cinematic pedigree is an impeccable one. Names not associated with Emanuelle in Egypt are Emanuelle and Emmanuelle, neither black nor white, as this film is to English speaking audiences a retitling aimed at an association with a familiar franchise that plays to the exotic while exploiting Just Jaeckin themes.

Laura Gemser, presumably the Black Emmanuelle of the non existent pairing, is Laura a model and not a journalist. She works with an obnoxious cameraman played by her then real life husband Gabriele Tinti. White Emmanuelle is Annie Belle; probably.

The cinematography is exceptional and the best is made of locations that are no doubt chosen for their exotica erotica appeal while playing to the Egyptology and Orientalist obsessions of more Northern audiences while accidentally overlooking the need to actually have a story. Velluto nero, as a result, is largely plot free and despite characters who actually possess some depth and the exploration of philosophical themes this is little more than screwing with some pretty backdrops, albeit with thought provoking multi dimensional nymphomaniac characters.

Al Cliver is a discombobulating Aleister Crowley type character for whom Gemser sacrifices a goat, giallo favourite Nieves Navarro puts in an appearance and in a bizarre yet not aesthetically displeasing product placement, Ziggy Zanger, by far the most interesting character of the piece and a potential contender for the White Emmanuelle title, quaffs from a J and B bottle as she grinds away beneath her latest conquest. Mostly harmless.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics