“I was a silent actress: a body. I belonged to dreams – to those who can’t be broken.” — Sylvia Kristel

Today is the birthday of Dutch actress and – briefly – international superstar – Sylvia Kristel. The timing is fortuitous. Often pigeonholed due to the massive success of the soft-core classic Emmanuelle, Kristel was a gifted and intuitive actress, who worked with some of the biggest stars of the era. Emmanuelle was such a massive (and notorious) hit that it in a way it hindered her reputation (particularly posthumously). Kristel wasn’t ashamed of Emmanuelle – she was very much in favor of the sexual revolution and freedom of expression – but to ONLY be known for that film does this actress a great disservice. My pal Jeremy Richey wrote a book about Kristel, Sylvia Kristel: From Emmanuelle to Chabrol – which came out last year. I could not be more proud of him if I tried. He and I go way way back and I know this has been a dream project for him. I interviewed him about the book, and really enjoyed our discussion.

Many of Kristel’s films are hard to see – many aren’t available at all – but hopefully that will change. In the meantime, coinciding with the publication of Richey’s book, The Metrograph in New York put up a Sylvia Kristel series, still running now.

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