remarkable portrait of a French movie star who was most controversial sex symbol in the world in the mid twentieth century.
Bardot, La Méprise A new documentary on the sex kitten of the century Viewed en avant-première at Arlequin Cinema, Paris Saturday November 23, 2013
One of the most famous films ever of Brigitte Bardot co-starring Michel Piccoli, Jack Palance, and iconic German director Fritz Lang, was the 1956 Nouvelle Vague classic "Les Mépris" by Jean-Luc Godard. In that film she played the ultimate bitch, having nothing but disdain for all of her lovers -- the title itself means "disdain" in the plural. And one wonders whether Godard himself did not have a certain disdain for the sex kitten actress casting her in such a negative role. The title of the current Brigitte Bardot biopic documentary "la Méprise" is a most interesting jeu de mots playing on the title of the Godard film but implying that Bardot may have become an actress by mistake or has perhaps been misunderstood all along. Méprise is a French word that defies a one word translation into English because it actually means not just to make a mistake ("méprendre") but rather to take one thing for another or to mistake one person for another. In other words more of a mis-identification than a simple error. And that is what sets the tone for this remarkable portrait of a French movie star who became the most controversial sex symbol in the world in the mid twentieth century.
Bardot was so controversial because she had no qualms about appearing nude on screen ~ at a time when such nudity was considered pornographic ~ and no qualms about seeking sex for its own sake. She was the exact reverse of the goodie goodie engenues who were so popular back then ~ the likes of Debbie Reynolds or Audrey Hepburn. BB as she came to be known for short, was a man-eater on screen and off screen as well, with a list of lovers a mile long, not making any bones about her flamboyant public love life or escapades with married men.
Unlike the voluptuous Italian bombshells of the time, Gina Lollobrigida and Sophia Loren, Bardot was rather slender, not particularly busty or hippy, but she had a catlike come hitherness and a famous labial pout, the legs of a ballerina, and above all, a willingness to appear in various degrees of nudity at a time when such exposure was looked upon as borderline pornography. In a sense Bardot was the first completely liberated female of mainstream cinema. Her kissing and clinging scenes were in fact hot enough to cause heavy audience breathing. Not for nothing was she dubbed the international "sex kitten".
Now director David Teboul, a lifelong admirer of The famous actress, has put together a remarkable document on her life from childhood to late career that is simultaneously a record of half a century of French pop culture and a study from within, as if Bardot were telling her own story in the first person.
BB herself is now a senior citizen retired to her villa on the riviera at St. Tropez but by no means forgotten as she is still outspoken on various political issues, notably Animal Rights
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