Sylvia Kristel, Star of Emmanuelle, Dead at 60
by Alexis L. Loinaz
In a cinematic era marked by burgeoning sexual frankness and a more fluid acceptance of movie eroticism, Sylvia Kristel was at the forefront of a cresting wave.
The Dutch actress, who starred in a string of mainstream ’70s erotic films including Emmanuelle and its sequels, died Wednesday in the Netherlands after a long battle with cancer. She was 60.
The actress was just 22 years old when she shot to fame in the 1974 French hit Emmanuelle, which told the story of a restless housewife and her sexual escapades in Thailand.
The film was notable for being one of the first erotic films to be shown in mainstream theaters, even though it was slapped with an X rating in the U.K.
At the time, the zeitgeist was ripe for Emmanuelle, nipping at the heels of more hard-core films like Deep Throat, which was released two years earlier.
Although that film was unabashedly sexual, it tempered the cinematic climate enough for the arrival of films like Emmanuelle — with its provocative yet velvet-soft approach to erotica—and for stars like Kristel.