Brigitte Bardot

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First Gerard Depardieu, Now Brigitte Bardot Threatens To Adopt Russian Nationality


Gerard Depardieu Brigitte Bardot

It looks as though the French have started queuing up behind Gerard Depardieu, in a desperate attempt to gain a Russian passport. Well, one of them has, anyway. Brigitte Bardot has also threatened to ask Russia if she can become one of their own, but not because of tax hikes, this time. Bardot’s problem isn’t a financial one at all; rather, a case of animal welfare. The screen legend has threatened to give up her French citizenship unless a decision to put down circus elephants suspected of carrying turberculosis is overturned, Reuters reports.

The elephants, named Nepal and Baby, are owned by a circus and a court in Lyon ordered for them to be put down as a precautionary measure. Bardot has become renowned for her work in animal rights campaigning and she said in a statement “If those in power are cowardly and impudent enough to kill the elephants... then I have decided I will ask for Russian nationality to get out of this country which has become nothing more than an animal cemetery.” The circus owners, Cirque Pinder also said today (January 4, 2013) that they will fight the decision to end the animals’ lives. The animals tested positive for TB in 2010 but have ben kept in a zoo in Lyon, away from the general public.

Gerard Depardieu is reported to be accepting the offer of a Russian passport from the Russian leader Vladimir Putin. He is denouncing his home country of France after their plans to impose a 75% tax on its wealthiest citizens.

A Very Private Affair Review


Grim
In A Very Private Affair, Brigitte Bardot gets to basically play herself, an overacting, overstacked blonde goddess who just can't take it any more when the pressures of celebrity get to her. Her performance is just short of a tragedy, and the plot is saccharine, asking us to feel sorry for the plight of her movie starlet when the paparazzi flock to her country place after word surfaces about her "very private" affair with an older man. When press light a bonfire in your yard to keep warm and helicopters hover right over your roof, sure, you should get upset. But in that case reality will have dissolved completely, so why worry?

Continue reading: A Very Private Affair Review

...and God Created Woman Review


OK
This is the movie that made Brigitte Bardot famous -- especially since she appeared nude in the first scene and many that followed.

Her character, a brazen sexpot, loves one brother but marries another. In the sun-drenched French Riviera, Bardot vamps it up and gets poor, poor hubby (Jean-Louis Trintignant) into endless fights and predicaments. And yet the men continue to fawn over her. Such is the point -- timeless and devilishly accurate, but hardly deep. Swept Away threw this idea for a twist, with much better effect (and also on the beach).

Continue reading: ...and God Created Woman Review

Masculine Feminine Review


Excellent
By 1966, Jean-Luc Godard was the New Wave's premier prankster-ideologue and pop-culture deconstructionist. After sharpening his teeth on Contempt, Band of Outsiders, and Alphaville among a coruscating burst of titles that began with 1960's Breathless, Godard rapidly found his voice in the form of the guerilla-style cinema manifesto. Masculine Feminine, about the dysfunctional romance between a young would-be militant and a budding pop star whose blithe pursuit of fame represents everything he hates about capitalism, comes together in a series of 15 loosely-connected vignettes--or "precise chapters" as Godard calls them. Intertitles, often accompanied by gunshots, read like politically-charged maxims and divide these "chapters" and lend the movie an aura of immediacy at once jarring and hilarious, because they raise what is, at heart, the story of a doomed romance into the realm of Marxist allegory. That sounds incredibly pretentious, but this is Godard -- an artist with a knack for exposing intellectual pretense for the vain tomfoolery that it is, and where the most intimate exchanges are booby-trapped by self-parody and non-sequiturs. In Godard's world, human relationships are negotiations for political power and fertile ground for his brand of deadpan formal antics.

Plot-wise, this is refreshingly simple stuff. Paul (Jean-Pierre Léaud), a spray can-toting socialist in 1960s Paris, spends his time rallying against all things American, when he falls head-over-heals for Madeleine (played by real-life yé yé singer Chantal Goya), a pretty but clueless brunette on the verge of commercial breakthrough (she's already burning up the charts in Japan). Broke and evicted, Paul moves in with Madeleine and her roommates, Elizabeth and Catherine (Marléne Jobert and Catherine-Isabelle Duport), where he continues his attempts to reconcile his disapproval of Madeleine's money-driven dreams with his deep-seated hankering to get it on with her.

Continue reading: Masculine Feminine Review

Contempt Review


Excellent
Contempt (or Le Mépris, for you purists out there), directed by Jean-Luc Godard in 1963, is a superlative film about many things, including the making of a film, the break-up of a married couple, and the parallels between the contemporary New Wave world (of 1963) and the classical (Old Wave) world of Homer. The basic story, based on novel by Alberto Moravia, is this: Director Fritz Lang (playing himself) is in the process of directing a film version of Homer's Odyssey. Lang has already shot some scenes, but his boorish film producer Jeremy Prokosch (Jack Palance) is upset with the results so he has fired most of the crew and hired a playwright named Paul (Michel Piccoli) to do some rewrites. Paul arrives in Rome with his beautiful wife Camille (Brigette Bardot) and over the course of a couple of days - in which they travel to Capri - everything goes wrong for Paul, who loses Camille to Prokosch and who decides that rewriting the Odyssey is too big a task considering that his own life has taken a heartbreaking turn. Contempt, however, is not a movie about making a movie as much as it is a movie about a disintegrating relationship. The center piece scene is a 30 minute passive/aggressive marital fight between Paul and Camille that takes place in a small apartment. The scene is a very economical piece of filmmaking that unfolds in real time. On first viewing this scene can be maddening because it doesn't seem to go anywhere, and it's difficult to figure out what Camille and Paul are fighting about. Their grief seems to come from someplace else. And maybe there is a past we don't understand, but what Godard is presenting us with is a failed relationship in the modern world: One where gallantry, romanticism and, more importantly, communication have failed. On the surface the film also shows how difficult it is for an art house director to get a film made with a Hollywood film producer: especially if the film is based on such a classic as Homer's Odyssey. Jack Palance gives a very funny performance as the egomaniacal film producer who can only see profit in the venture. He also gets a few humorous lines: When Lang comments on a Greek story, Palance reaches into his coat pocket and says, "When I hear the word culture I get out my checkbook." There is an irony also to Palance's character because it was well known at the time that Godard was having trouble with the film's real producers: Carlo Ponti and Joseph Levine. They insisted that Godard include a nude scene with Bardot so he went back and shot a scene with color filters in which she talks to her husband in the nude. It's a much more intellectual scene than a sexy one and, if anything, it clearly shows that Godard won the battle on that issue. Unlike almost all of Godard's film in the 1960s, Contempt is much more heartfelt than intellectually removed or self reflexive. No doubt, some of this can be attributed to Godard's split from his then wife Anna Karina, which had to have some kind of personal affect on him. But part of the reason too is because of Georges Delerue's distinctively melancholic score, which consists of two mood-setting pieces that are shuffled and repeated seemingly at will about 20 times throughout the film. Still the film does have some self reflexive moments. In many instances Godard comments upon many things in literature from Dante to romantic poetry and films that have influenced him like Roberto Rossellini's Voyage in Italy and Howard Hawks' Hatari!,as well as nods to his own films. Best of all is the gorgeous color Francscope (similar to CinemaScope) cinematography done in anamorphic 2.35:1 aspect ratio by the legendary D.P. Raoul Cotard and the slow burning pace, which is a desirable quality missing from cinema these days. The images are so seductive, in fact, that viewers may miss some of the complexity and issues about the classical versus the modern world. The Criterion Collection DVD is exemplary in all categories. There is an informative commentary track by film scholar Robert Stam and a second disc full of all kinds of goodies. The two best are a 53-minute conversation between Godard and Lang titled The Dinosaur and the Baby and a 10-minute interview with Godard in which he stands at a microphone with sunglasses on and tells an interviewer what he thinks of critics. There is also a short doc on the difficultly of dealing with Bardot's fame during the shoot, a short on Fritz Lang, and a recent interview with Raoul Coutard. There is also an enlightening five minute comparison between the inferior full-frame 1.33:1 transfer of the film (long available in video) versus the widescreen letterbox transfer, which mirror the director's true intentions. All in all this is a stunning DVD and is not-to-be-missed by any Godard fan; something we should all be by now.

Spirits of the Dead Review


Good
A rare '60s oddity, Spirits of the Dead takes a weird premise and makes it even weirder. How weird? Try classic Edgar Allen Poe stories given a 1960s spin -- one that lambasts the whole free love/no morals movement the way that only the Frenchies could do. And stars some of the biggest stars of the era -- Fonda! Bardot! Delon! -- and is told in three short pieces, courtesy of three big-time directors -- Fellini! Malle! Vadim!

Roger Vadim takes his Barbarella star Jane Fonda through a very loose interpretation of "Metzengerstein," with Fonda as an aristocrat bored of the constant orgies and swift executions of her enemies. She ends up falling for her cousin, but when he rejects her, she burns down his stable, taking him along with it. Strangely, the cousin ends up possessing the spirit of a horse, which the countess ends up fascinated with anew. It's the weakest of the three shorts, but it's worth seeing if for no other reason than to see Barbarella trot out her French. (To be honest, that might be the only reason -- the story just doesn't make much of an impact.)

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Don Juan (Or If Don Juan Were A Woman) Review


Good
So what if Don Juan were a woman? I'm not sure if she would behave something like Brigitte Bardot's 1973 rendition of the famed lover, but it's considerably fun to watch her strut her stuff.

In Roger Vadim's interpretation of the Latin lover, Jeanne (Bardot) eats men for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. She takes a married politician and immediately ruins him by having him photographed at one of her orgies. She uses a hapless folk singer for sex and then leaves, prompting him to slice his wrists and bleed to death while strumming his guitar. She even extends her wiles to corrupting women, luring the innocent wife of a grotesquely self-absorbed businessman into the sack, then turning the tables on both members of the couple.

Continue reading: Don Juan (Or If Don Juan Were A Woman) Review

A Very Private Affair Review


Grim
In A Very Private Affair, Brigitte Bardot gets to basically play herself, an overacting, overstacked blonde goddess who just can't take it any more when the pressures of celebrite get to her. Her performance is just short of a tragedy, and the plot is saccharine, asking us to feel sorry for the plight of her movie starlet when the paparazzi flock to her country place after word surfaces about her "very private" affair with an older man. When press light a bonfire in your yard to keep warm and helicopters hover right over your roof, sure, you should get upset. But in that case reality will have dissolved completely, so why worry?

Continue reading: A Very Private Affair Review

Brigitte Bardot

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