Harley Davidson

Campy enough for you? French movie star warbling about American things she probably has no idea about. I’m not entirely sure if Brigitte Bardot has been to America, or even speaks English. She’s never made a movie in Hollywood, that much is known. It doesn’t matter; she is Bardot and the world still worships her. She’s a sex symbol only rivaled by Monroe, and unlike Monroe, she’s still alive. Watch the video and tell me what it is about BB that every two-bit ingenue wants to copy a bit of her magic, why her look is on every runway from Tokyo to Sao Paolo. Her singing isn’t great. Is she a good actress? Are any of her movies still watched and loved the way MM’s are? I can’t say for sure, but the two I’ve seen were both awful.  Et Dieu… créa la femme was vile with misogyny even by fifties standards, and Contempt just made me fall asleep. I’m not even sure I like her as a person. Yes, she was one of the first celebrities who supported animal rights, and after retiring from movies, she’s dedicated her life to the cause. She now lives as a recluse, presumably with 500 cats, marshaling funds and support for animal rights organisations from her home in St Tropez. She’s helped draw attention to seal hunting, dolphin killing, horse slaughter and many, many other issues. All of which is admirable, and I would call her a hero, except for the niggling matter of her pronounced racism. She’s been charged and fined multiple times for ‘inciting racial hatred’ against Muslims, taking a right-wing position on France’s immigration issues, supporting nationalist political parties, and making racist and homophobic statements in interviews and in print. Her intolerant, uber-nationalist attitudes are repugnant, while her unflagging dedication to animal welfare is admirable. Does one balance out the other? I don’t think most of her young fans on the internet are aware of either. They just recognize her image as a gold standard of beauty and sexuality.

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Hotness. The song is a wisp of nothing, just a vehicle for Bardot’s star power. She’s no singer, but that was never the point. The point of the video is the video. It’s highly artistic, in a swinging sixties way. The theme appears to be clockwork, to judge from the ticking sounds and wheels turning imagery. Golden gladiatrix  costume earns full points. A celebration of beauty for beauty, shall we say.

Comic Strip

This week in weird sixties French pop culture: Brigitte Bardot in a brunette wig! There’s a vague sense of hilarity about as two icons of Frenchness tackle the ineffably American phenomenon of comics. Admittedly, I have no clue what the specific content of the song is. It doesn’t give the impression of being an ironic parody or snooty down-upon. I think those two really like American comic books. The divine BB wears her Barbarella drag well. Dark hair suits her.

Et Dieu… créa la femme

Finally. I watched the French classic “…and God created woman”. It is a profoundly distasteful movie, I’m sorry to report. The star is Brigitte Bardot, playing a stereotypical femme fatale, a woman so sexual she literally makes men insane.  Juliette is an orphan who marries a man she does not care for in order to escape returning to the dreaded orphanage. She then wrecks havoc in the lives of her husband, his friends and family, and generally everyone in the domicile of St Tropez. Juliette is has enough self-awareness to flirt manipulatively with every man she meets, yet beyond that she has little personality. She has no concept of who she is or what she wants. She is defined entirely by her desirability. Is she a naif victimized by the libidos of powerful men? Or, conversely, a scheming whore who gets her way by leading men about by their cocks? Either image is equally offensive. Made in 1956, the movie was considered quite provocative, and launched Bardot’s career. It’s provocative all right, but not in a good way. It’s a repulsive example of the ages-old image of toxic female sexuality. The idea that a woman is a sexual object first and foremost is operative in this movie, and it’s also something Bardot herself has been defined by and struggled with in her own life. Before she came to movies, Bardot studied ballet. This background is an underreported facet of her persona. Everything about her that seems studied and provocative at first glance makes sense in the context of her balletic training. The posture, neck ramrod straight, chest thrust out. The walk, swiveling yet flatfooted. The combination of graceful, dainty gestures and broad, overtly physical ones. It is only at the end of the movie that Juliette really comes alive, and it’s in a dance sequence. Wandering a basement nightclub, she performs a sweaty, uninhibited dance, and she seems to be herself for the first time. It’s in that moment that the character of Juliette makes any sense at all, and it’s compliments to Bardot that she makes this figure of male fantasy the least bit sympathetic. It’ s completely assbackwards, of course, that the wanton French girl’s inhibitions drop like a stone in the presence of black men with bongoes – typical fifties racism on top of everything else. And it’s sad and repulsive that what happens next – Juliette’s milquetoast husband finally grows the cojones to beat her into submission – is shown as a happy ending. It’s a classic movie, yeah. Worth seeing for the youthful Bardot, a 22-year old starlet with scorching charisma. Too bad she’s trapped inside a movie that’s as backwards and insulting towards women as Birth Of A Nation was towards black people.

Ciel de lit

I almost watched And God Created Woman the other day, but the dvd was scratched. So still no commend on whether or not the divine BB had the acting chops to match the pulchritude. MM did, but exception proves the rule. Most of the time talent is inversely proportional to boob size.

Ca Pourrait Changer

Brigitte Bardot, a movie legend, fashion icon, animal rights defender and sometime songstress, model and dancer just had to tarnish her good name so late in life with her less than progressive racial views. Since the 90s she’s been prosecuted and fined multiple times for “inciting racial hatred” with anti-Muslim statements, as well as slurs against homosexuals. Though she did apologize to the ‘homos’, she’s still unrepentant about what she views as the ‘infestation’ of Islam in France. After all that, she did win back some respect when she called Sarah Palin “disconcertingly stupid” and “a disgrace to women”. You see, she’s not riding high on some far-right bandwagon. She’s critical of Islam from a women’s and animal rights perspective and she’s expressed herself openly but tactlessly. Some of her statements have been disappointing and offensive but she’s not entirely off her rocker yet.

Bubble Gum

Again, the disconcerting spectacle of French people backwashing Americanism. Although I have no idea what she’s singing about, besides bubble gum, I’m sure it’s silly. French pop music always is. The French are the least rocking people, maybe not on the face of the Earth, but definitely in the Western half of it. I can’t think of any French rockers at all. Obviously, English speaking countries produce a disproportionate number of rock stars, but that’s no excuse. German rock is the best, Russian rock is great, Swedish rock is highly popular, Norway has a rock scene unrivalled in its bizarreness, and even Iceland has given the world some top notch rock stars. What is wrong with the French that the best they can come up with is a song about bubble gum?