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5 Movies like Emmanuelle: Erotic Sagas with Female Leads

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Aljosa Drazovic itcherWhile there has been no shortage of on-screen female sexuality throughout the history of film, few works actually present sexuality from a female perspective. ‘Emmanuelle’ was one of the first films to do this, paving the way for later works such as ‘The Story of O’ and ‘Basic Instinct’. ~ Aljosa Drazovic

Women and Lust

Some films reduce women to sexual objects in the background. Only the most forward-thinking directors dare to put them in focus and drive the film forward through non-generic motivational factors.
The rise of feminist influences in the late 60’s and early 70’s brought a bit of refreshment in this regard, with several well-made films exploring the boundaries between eroticism and pornography.
Perhaps none of the films from the period were more important than ‘Emmanuelle’, which represented a revelation for mass audiences and helped countless women discover their sexuality.
‘Emmanuelle’ eventually became a cult classic and had countless sequels, but here are some other films that deserve to be mentioned when discussing films with high erotic voltage.

Movies Similar to ‘Emmanuelle’…

‘The Story of O’ (Just Jaeckin, 1975)

This film explores sexual taboos of domination and sadomasochism, often crossing the line of mainstream acceptability with extreme displays of sexual pain. Based on a controversial novel by French writer Anne Desclos, the movie was initially banned in Great Britain.

While the titular character is forced to endure terrible trials at the hands of her lover and several other men he shares her with, this is her conscious decision. In the end of the film, she discovers true love that is worth suffering for.

Open depictions of S-M relationships is rare in mainstream cinema, which is why this film remains popular among fans.

Similarity Match: 85%
Both protagonists are photographers, setting out to explore their darker passions.

‘Barbarella’ (Roger Vadim, 1968)

On the surface, this is an erotic comedy set in the future, with Jane Fonda in the role of an attractive astronaut on a mission to save humanity. Her voyage takes her through a series of bizarre situations, typically involving some form of sexual behavior.

Of course, the film can be understood as a feminist statement with a clear left-wing political background. Made at a time when free love was a frequently-discussed ideal, ‘Barbarella’ was a perfect vehicle for promotion of this concept.

Almost fifty years after it debuted, this film still feels contemporary. Except for the rudimentary special effects, of course.

Similarity Match: 80%
Both scripts put main characters into new situations, although the context is completely different.

‘Basic Instinct’ (Paul Verhoeven, 1992)

This crime thriller is forever remembered for Sharon Stone’s acting prowess, as well as for some electrifying sex scenes. She is the ultimate femme fatale – pretty, intelligent and ‘dangerous’.

After falling under suspicion for cold-blooded murder, the main character spins a web of deceit to enthrall the detective investigating her case. Her mastery of subtle manipulation is effective even when the stakes are high.

Supremely confident and absolutely merciless, Stone represents a new breed of woman capable of enjoying casual sex and taking full advantage of her impact on men.

Don’t forget to also have a look at these other movies like ‘Basic Instinct’.

Similarity Match: 70%
The main character is far more sinister, but just as seductive as ‘Emmanuelle’.


If You Like ‘Emmanuelle’, You Will Like…

Society can be cruel towards women who openly indulge in their sexual appetites, punishing them for the smallest infractions.

That’s especially true in highly religious communities, such as those depicted in the following films.

‘Breaking the Waves’ (Lars Von Trier, 1996)

Set in a small town in Scotland, the film follows the destiny of a religious woman who becomes promiscuous after her husband is injured in an accident.

Ignoring the social norms and possible punishments, she pursues sexual encounters in order to channel her love and miraculously help her beloved recover.

Being a woman can be hard, but some environments are less forgiving.

‘Queen Margot’ (Patrice Chereau, 1994)

This is the story about a young and powerful woman with an affinity for intense sexual adventures trapped in a bloody religious war.

The film is a stunning testament of the past centuries, when even royal status didn’t guarantee freedom – at least not for a woman of Margot’s sort.

One of the most mysterious women in history can be seen up close, with all her vulnerabilities.


Over to You

What do you think of these movies similar to ‘Emmanuelle’?
If you would like to add anything else – please let me know in the comments.
Aljosa Drazovic (1978) is a copywriter, screenwriter, blogger and poetry performer from Belgrade, Serbia. Armed with an analytic mind, a broad range of professional writing skills and a passion for alternative film-making, he is capable of delivering precise dissection of the storylines, performances and art work in a wide array of mainstream and indy films. Never the one to stick to convention, Aljosa is known for strong opinions that often stray from majority views.
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