“Just Jaeckin, the director of Emmanuelle with Sylvia Kristel, died on September 6 in Brittany following a long illness at the age of 82 (…) He died surrounded by his wife Anne, sculptor, and his daughter Julia, photographer,” a spokesperson for the family told AFP on Wednesday.
“Emmanuelle”, the biggest success of the year 1974 in France with nearly 9 million admissions, remained on the bill for thirteen years on the Champs-Elysées in Paris. It tells the sexual adventures of a young woman in Asia.
A societal phenomenon, the film has been seen in cinemas by several tens of millions of spectators all over the world, many more if we take other media into account.
Available today for rental on demand, “Emmanuelle” had been available on Netflix for a time, in 2020. Not recommended for those under 16, it was then presented as a “romantic” opus.
“Emmanuelle” had been adapted from an erotic bestseller of the same name, written by Emmanuelle Arsan in 1959.
The producer Yves Rousset-Rouard, wishing to entrust the project to a young director, contacted Just Jaeckin, fashion and celebrity photographer, delighted to shoot a feature film. When it went to committee in 1974, the film had to be censored if certain cuts were not made.
But the death of President Georges Pompidou led to the appointment of a new Secretary of State for Culture, which allowed the film to be released in theaters.
– “Tsunami” –
When she left, Sylvia Kristel was, among other insults, called a “bitch” and the subject of all kinds of rumors, such as that granting her an idyll with President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, which she denied.
After this success, his name will remain linked to the erotic saga with four other parts. There will also be, this time without Sylvia Kristel, several films more or less inspired by “Emmanuelle”.
After “Emmanuelle”, Just Jaeckin will then direct “Histoire d’O” and, again with Sylvia Kristel, “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”, in which she played the English aristocrat living a carnal passion with her gardener.
The actress, who fell into drugs and alcohol after having to deal with criticism and fame, died of cancer at the age of 60 in 2012. In 2006, she published her autobiography under the title “Nude”.
“Sylvia was a wonderful woman, very pure, very naive. She lived up to her name Kristel. She had been overtaken, like me by the way, by Emmanuelle’s tidal wave. Emmanuelle’s hot iron was very hard for her”, confided in 2012 to AFP Just Jaeckin, after the death of the actress.
The success of “Emmanuelle” has “disturbed and obscured the multifaceted talent” of the photographer, advertising director and sculptor he was before being the director of “Emmanuelle”, underlines his entourage.
Born in 1940 in Vichy, Just Jaeckin was also the owner, with his wife, of an art gallery in Paris where they exhibited paintings and sculptures, including their own.