Saturday, May 9, 2015

Brigitte Bardot, French Sex Symbol

Brigitte Bardot.

Brigitte Anne-Marie Bardot (born 28 September 1934) is a French former actress, singer and fashion model. She is best known these days as a fervent animal rights activist.

Brigitte was born in Paris. She took dancing lessons as a girl, and eventually went to the prestigious Conservatoire de Paris. She became friends there with Leslie Caron. While there, she started modelling. Young film director Roger Vadim spotted her, but not because of her work; it was while she was picking up extra cash babysitting.

Vadim himself eventually became famous for the women that he married, which included Bardot and Jane Fonda. He took some of Bardot's pictures to another director, who cast her in a film that was eventually cancelled. Bardot was on her way.

Bardot's first film was the 1952 "Crazy for Love." She embarked on a series of films, seventeen in four years, an extraordinary number, especially for an ingenue. Many of the roles were bits - 'the girl in the bikini' - but they got her noticed. She enhanced her fame with scandalous appearances at the Cannes Film Festival, basically beginning the use of that venue to further one's career with salacious 'stunts.'

Most of Bardot's early films were French works little noticed overseas, but she did have a few English-language ones, cinluding bit parts in "Helen of Troy" (1954) with Dirk Bogarde and "Act of Love" (1954) with Kirk Douglas. Vadim was starting to gain some cachet, and he soon found a breakout project.

"And God Created Woman" (1956) is one of the classics of French cinema. Bardot played a scandalous teen in a small French town. The film concluded the transition of Bardot from babysitter to national sex symbol.

Brigitte Bardot

Bardot divorced Vadim and married fellow actor Jacques Charrier in 1959. They had a boy together. By this time, Bardot was iconic and a constant fixture on magazine covers around the world.

Brigitte Bardot

Many other classic films followed, almost all French. She worked with all of the top talent in the New Wave French cinema, such as Jeanne Moreau, Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale, among many others.

Bardot also was a singer and worked in musicals and released many records in collaboration with top artists. She is best remembered now for "Je t'aime... moi non-plus," which was not released when recorded but only many years later, when it became a big download hit.

Brigitte Bardot

Bardot always had a somewhat free-spirited personal life. She had numerous affairs and became an outspoken animal rights activist, which has led her to a continuing influence on French policy. She also criticized the immigration of Muslims.

Brigitte Bardot
"Girl in the Bikini," 1958

She had personal issues that resulted in a suicide attempt and various other incidents. Bardot essentially retired in 1973, but remains an iconic French celebrity to this day who routinely meets new heads of state to discuss her concerns about the proper treatment of animals. Nobody to this day turns down the chance to meet Brigitte Bardot.

Brigitte Bardot
The set of "Shalako," 1968.

Brigitte gets a lot of attention these days for her political views. She is well-known in France for being a supporter of animal rights and against the deterioration of native French culture. Brigitte Bardot continues to make news today.

Brigitte Bardot


Year Film Role Notes
1952 Le Trou normand Javotte Lemoine (Crazy for Love)
Manina, la fille sans voile Manina (Manina, the Girl in the Bikini)
Les dents longues Bridesmaid (The Long Teeth) Uncredited
1953 Le Portrait de son père Domino (His Father's Portrait)
Act of Love Mimi
1954 Si Versailles m'était conté Mademoiselle de Rozille (Royal Affairs in Versailles)
Tradita Anna (Concert of Intrigue)
1955 Le Fils de Caroline chérie Pilar d'Aranda (Caroline and the Rebels)
Futures vedettes Sophie (Sweet Sixteen)
Doctor at Sea Hélène Colbert
Les grandes manoeuvres Lucie (The Grand Maneuver)
La Lumière d'en face Olivia Marceau (The Light Across the Street )
1956 Helen of Troy Andraste
Cette sacrée gamine Brigitte Latour (Mam'zelle Pigalle)
Mio figlio Nerone Poppaea (Nero's Weekend)
En effeuillant la marguerite Agnès Dumont (Plucking the Daisy / Mademoiselle Striptease)
Et Dieu créa la femme Juliette Hardy (And God Created Woman)
La Mariée est trop belle Chouchou (The Bride Is Much Too Beautiful)
1957 Une Parisienne Brigitte Laurier
1958 Les bijoutiers du clair de lune Ursula (The Night Heaven Fell)
En cas de malheur Séverine Serizy (In Case of Adversity)
1959 La femme et le Pantin Eva Marchand (A Woman Like Satan)
Babette s'en va-t-en guerre Babette (Babette Goes to War)
Voulez-vous danser avec moi? Virginie Dandieu (Come Dance with Me!)
1960 Le Testament d'Orphée Herself (The Testament of Orphée) Cameo
'Affaire d'une nuit (fr) Woman in restaurant (It Happened All Night) Cameo, uncredited
La Vérité Dominique Marceau (The Truth) David di Donatello Award for Best Foreign Actress
1961 La Bride sur le cou Sophie (Please!, Not Now!)
Les Amours célèbres Agnes Bernauer (Famous Love Affairs)
1962 Vie privée Jill (A Very Private Affair)
Le Repos du guerrier Geneviève Le Theil (Warrior's Rest)
1963 Le Mépris Camille Javal (Contempt)
1964 Une ravissante idiote Penelope Lightfeather (The Ravishing Idiot)
1965 Dear Brigitte Herself
Viva Maria! Maria I Nomination – BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress
1966 Marie Soleil Herself Cameo
Masculin, féminin Herself Actress in bistro (cameo)
1967 À coeur joie Cecile (Two Weeks in September)
1968 Histoires extraordinaires Giuseppina (Spirits of the Dead)
Shalako Countess Irina Lazaar
1969 Les Femmes Clara (The Vixen)
1970 L'Ours et la Poupée Felicia (The Bear and the Doll)
Les Novices Agnès (The Novices)
1971 Boulevard du Rhum Linda Larue (Rum Runners)
Les Pétroleuses Louise (The Legend of Frenchie King)
1973 Don Juan 1973 ou Si Don Juan était une femme... Jeanne (Don Juan, or If Don Juan Were a Woman)
L'histoire très bonne et très joyeuse de Colinot Trousse-Chemise Arabelle (The Edifying and Joyous Story of Colinot)

The following are informal shots of Bardot hanging out in a bar somewhere, probably South France, in 1968.