Don Juan (Or If Don Juan Were A Woman) Movie Review
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.
Vadim imbues his film with a balls-out seventies sensibility, all bell bottoms and shag rugs. Bardot, one of the ultimate vamps of world cinema, is at her unmistakable best here, bored with the world around her yet overflowing with wanton lust. Unfortunately, the film never totally gels -- is the point to show us how Jeanne jumps from one encounter to another without any remorse at all? That's what Vadim gives us -- and his ending tries to wrap up her life with a bit of deus ex machina that doesn't satisfy at all.
Still, Don Juan is a rare shocker that turns the table on age-old expectations about gender and morality. There's no surprise ending and little mystery along the way -- just brash sexuality courtesy of one of cinema's most notorious vixens.
Aka Don Juan 73.