As these five films remind us, directors loved Brigitte Bardot not so much as an actor but as the sum of fetishized body parts—most notably her mane-like hair, Rimmel-lined eyes, pulpy mouth and perfectly carved lower back. Whether she played a bubbly youth in 1956’s Naughty Girl (when she wasn’t even her trademark blond yet), a devoted sleuthing wife in 1959’s Come Dance with Me or an aloof model torn between two men in 1967’s Two Weeks in September, she’d still get (literally) deconstructed—The Vixen’s opening credits are set against a huge close-up of her lips, for instance. Few filmmakers (Henri Georges Clouzot with La Vérité, Jean-Luc Godard with Le Mépris) were undaunted enough by BB’s erotic charisma to put it to good dramatic use; alas, none are represented here. Instead, we get B-listers—including her first husband (and Pygmalion) Roger Vadim—who seem to have been so overwhelmed by the creature at their disposal that they defaulted to cheesetastic camp: Bardot is seen vacuuming in the nude in Vadim’s Love on a Pillow. The best of the lot is the aforementioned Two Weeks in September. Director Serge Bourguignon had a great eye—no sense of pacing, but a great eye. Plus there are nightclub scenes set in Swinging London, some light bondage, an ultraromantic missed-connection ending and at least one classic exchange: When the youthful Jean Rochefort asks her what she wants, BB replies, “I want to be beautiful and loved by you.” As these movies prove, that just wasn’t enough.
Brigitte Bardot Collection
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