Sylvia Kristel: Private Lessons and Lady Chatterley’s Lover
[See previous article: "Sylvia Kristel Dies: Emmanuelle Star."] Kristel’s two notable efforts during that period were Alan Myerson’s box office hit Private Lessons (1981), in which she, as a foreign housemaid, becomes the erotic tutor of a (horny) all-American 15-year-old (Eric Brown), and the Just Jaeckin-directed, European co-production Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1982), co-starring Excalibur’s Nicholas Clay. Critics, however, weren’t exactly thrilled with either movie, particularly Jaeckin’s good-looking but slow-moving, bare-bones (and -bodies) adaptation of D.H. Lawrence’s novel. (Photo: Sylvia Kristel Private Lessons, with Eric Brown.)
From the mid-’80s on, Kristel’s movie appearances became more sporadic. Her later film credits consisted of minor fare, usually Dutch-made films geared to the local market, such as An Amsterdam Tale (1999), Forgive Me (2001), and The Friendship (2001), in addition to Emmanuelle VI (1993), made at a time when Kristel was in dire financial straits following the box office flop In the Shadow of the Sandcastle (1990), directed by her then husband Philippe Blot and on which she had invested her own money. According to the IMDb, Sylvia Kristel’s last movie was Ognjen Svilicic’s French / Croatian drama Two Sunny Days (2010).
Sylvia Kristel: Later years
In 2006, Kristel received a special jury prize at the Tribeca Film Festival for her animated short Topor and Me. In the short, Kristel provided the voice for her character — herself, discussing the Parisian art scene at the time Emmanuelle was made.
"We started together," Just Jaeckin recalled for The Associated Press. "… Emmanuelle brought us big problems. We were a bit marked. It was a highly contested film then and now it is a cult film."
Sylvia Kristel, who is survived by her partner Peter Brul, was married twice. She later accused husband no. 2, Philippe Blot (1986-1991), of ruining her financially. She also had a son with Belgian author Hugo Claus (1929-2008), Arthur Kristel, who was featured in a couple of 1999 movies (Nachtvlinder, 13).
Her autobiography, Nue / Nude (English-language version: Undressing Emmanuelle), was published in France in 2006. The following year, the retitled Sylvia Kristel: Nu became a made-for-television documentary directed by Michiel van Erp.
When asked about her views on Emmanuelle in The Independent’s sensationally titled 2007 article "Interview: Sylvia Kristel, the world’s most famous porn star," Kristel declared:
"I thought it was charming. Very innocent, like you say. I was struck by how young I looked at the time but I thought I was so adult, that I knew it all and I was going to conquer the world. Amazing. Where did this come from? … [My mother] saw the film when it came on television. She said: ’If they are showing it on television it can’t be that bad.’ And then she saw it and said: ’Is that all?’ I said: ’Mother, have you been imagining the worst for 20 years?’"
Eric Brown, Sylvia Kristel Private Lessons photo: Jensen Farley Films.