French Icon 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 who still gets involved in political events in her native France.
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. In effect, Vadim either made women stars, or enhanced their existing stardom. He took some of Bardot's pictures to another director, who cast her in a film that was eventually cancelled - but it was a start. Bardot was on her way.
Bardot's first film was the 1952 "Crazy for Love." She then embarked on an epic series of films, seventeen in four year. That is an extraordinary number, especially for a little-known ingenue.
Many of the roles were bits or innocuous fluff, such as "The Girl In The Bikini" - but they got her noticed by the right people.
She enhanced her fame with scandalous and sensational 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, including bit parts in prestige productions such as "Helen of Troy" (1954) with Dirk Bogarde and "Act of Love" (1954) with Kirk Douglas. Vadim himself was starting to gain some cachet, and he soon found a breakout project for his protégé.
The film was "And God Created Woman" (1956). It now is considered one of the classics of French cinema because of the fabulously innocent young girl at its heart. Bardot played a scandalous teen in a small French town. The film concluded the transition of Bardot from babysitter to national sex symbol.
Bardot eventually 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.
Many other classic films followed, almost all French. Bardot 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. It was "rediscovered" many years later, when it became a big download hit in the digital age.
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.
|"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 in French politics to this day turns down the chance to meet Brigitte Bardot. She has influence, and uses it.
|The set of "Shalako," 1968.|
In fact, 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. This has led her to some controversy, but Brigitte Bardot shies away from nothing.
For instance, Brigitte does not hesitate to wade into controversial elections of international importance. She had some provocative things to say about the Presidential runoff between Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron in May 2017.
Bardot had this to say about Macron:
The contempt he gives to animal suffering can be seen in the total lack of empathy reflected in the coldness of his steel eyes. Whilst the scandals are increasing, he takes the side of the animal breeders and the hunters against animal rights associations that are fighting with the lobbies that seem to have power over this candidate.Sounds like maybe she didn't vote for Macron.
On a more general topic, Bardot also had this to say in May 2017 to Le Figaro magazine (in French, of course):
We live in a period when everything is vulgar, ordinary, and mediocre. France no longer has the radiance, the majesty it had.
About Marine Le Pen, Brigitte had this to say:
Marine Le Pen has the will to take France in hand, to restore borders and give priority to the French.She was not quite as complimentary about Le Pen's opponent, Emmanuel Macron, who, as noted above, Bardot stated had "steely eyes." Despite his steely eyes, Macron won with over 60% of the votes cast.
With such a colorful way of expressing herself on controversial subjects, it is not surprising to learn that she has faced trial five times between 1997 and 2008 for “inciting racial hatred” including for comments opposing Muslim immigration to France.
Bardot has been convicted in French courts for:
decrying the loss of French identity and tradition due to the ‘multiplication of mosques while our church bells fall silent for want of priests.’However, Bardot is a true legend in France, and her convictions only embellish the legend.
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.