Friday, 17 May 2013

And God Created Woman.

Brigitte marries Roger Vadim.
Lets be honest, Roger Vadim’s debut film is not a particularly memorable one except for two things: firstly the sun-drenched scenery of the Cote d’Azur and secondary, and more importantly, its leading lady. Vadim married Brigitte Ann-Marie Bardot in 1952 when she was only 18 years old and then in 1956 directed her in the film that brought her international fame. And God Created Woman is basically the story of an immoral teenager living in a small town in the South of France. Bardot plays Juliette an 18 year old orphan who has a high level of sexual energy and is never afraid of using her extremely good looks to snare the man she sets her mind on.  Firstly it’s the much older and wealthy Eric Carradine (Curd Jürgens) who wants to build a new casino in the town, but cannot do so because the Tardieu family still own a small boat yard on the land where the casino is planned to go. When the eldest of three brothers Antoine (Christian Marquand) returns home to discuss selling the yard to Carradine Juliette is convinced that he is in love with her and gives herself to him hoping that he will take her away from what she see’s as a repressive existence. When this does not materialise Antoine’s naïve younger brother Michel (Jean-Louis Trintignant recently seen in 2012’s Amour) proposes to her. Although still in love with the older brother she accepts. But when Antoine returns home for good it puts an enormous strain on her marriage. 
Juliette's first love....

This was one of eight films that Bardot released in 1956. Her acting style has been described as natural rather than that of a trained actress and the fact she was a trained dancer allowed her to move with grace and poise and the way she dressed influenced women all over the world.  A lot of her later films were almost a parody of her self but some are well worth watching including Clouzot’s La Verite (1960), Louis Malle’s Vie privee (1962), Godard’s La Mepris (1963) and 1965’s Viva Maria with Jeanne Moreau. Vadim described the first of 5 wives ‘as a woman consumed by a constant need to feel passion’. In her private life she went from lover to husband and husband to lover marrying and divorcing 4 times. She retired in1973 at the grand age of 40! From that time she has fought for animal rights and notoriously has been politically active on the right wing of French politics.

....her true love......
Although And God Created Woman looks pretty tame by today’s standards it was revolutionary for its time, shot in Cinemascope and colour, it included nudity, brazen sexuality and the eagerness of young love. Its international success is claimed to have come from its highly sexualised content that was due to Brigitte Bardot becoming a 20th century symbol of liberated post-war woman and a model of erotic femininity or as the media would have it a ‘sex kitten’. Watch this film and your see why.

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