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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Et Dieu ... Crea La Femme (aka And God Created Woman) (1956)

A young teen-aged girl (Brigitte Bardot) scandalizes the small seaside port she lives at by her unconventional behavior and disregard for societal taboos. Two local brothers (Jean Louis Trintignant, Christian Marquand) and a wealthy older man (Curt Jurgens) all want to possess her. This was the film that turned Brigitte Bardot into an international sensation in the 1950s. It wasn't her first film but it's the one that lit the firecracker under her career. Directed by her then husband Roger Vadim, the film is carefully designed to display her to advantage. Vadim has her photographed (in CinemaScope) lying nude in the morning sun, sprawled across the hood of a white sports car in a tight red dress, wet and stretched out on a beach with her dress open to her navel, dancing with wild abandon to hot bongos while barefoot, etc. There was nothing sexually coy about Bardot, she positively reeked of sex! She certainly justified Vadim's (and the camera's) fascination with her, there had been nothing like her before! Still, there's a bit of uncomfortable sexism in the film's attitude toward her. One character says of Bardot, "She's a wild animal who needs to be tamed!" and she's too hot for any man to handle alright. But once her husband Trintignant slaps her around, she follows him home like a beaten puppy, no doubt beaten into submission and a proper French wife! Shot in St. Tropez in bright sunlight by Armand Thirard (DIABOLIQUE). With Isabelle Corey.

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