Initials BB (aka Being Boring)
A parasitic form of life, women love nothing more than being slapped in the face. That’s the idea behind Roger Vadim’s first movie, which alternative title could be St Tropez… In the Beginning, a quainter than quaint piece, dated before being contemporary. It nevertheless drew massive crowds, and placed Brigitte Bardot’s on orbit as THE French sex Goddess. To each his own.
Arguing that Vadim was more interested in playing God with women than in cinema undoubtedly has a point. His track record in womanizing is impressive. His writing and directing are far less stellar though, a curious case of zeitgeist marginally interfering with melodrama, present movie being the prefect case study.
The mother of Tropezian Tart, Juliette (BB) is a despicable tease and a sloth. She wants to be happy and makes everyone miserable in the process; she is a black hole of selfishness and stupidity. Far above her head when it comes to even wake up, she sow frustration and destruction wherever she goes, barefoot, under St Tropez’s stupid, selfish sun. She’s in love, but not quite, with one guy whose brother Michel (Jean-Louis Trintignant, handsome in his prime) she will marry, precipitating a not very interesting chain of events including guns, a juke box, a torrid mambo scene and Curt Jurgens as the cosmopolitan vile seducer without whom the whole piece would play out like Marcel Pagnol.
Bardot is a complete cipher, reluctant to act as to be filmed. She either pouts in rebellion or pouts in lascivious oblivion of said rebellion. She’s the French Megan Fox, at an antiquated time when a novelty actress career could last for more than three movies. Jurgens is straight out of an Eddie Constantine movie and Trintignant, still inexperienced, is by far the best of the lot.
Scenes abruptly fade to black after half hearted one-liners, leading to nothing but the oh-so-slow build-up of a presumably dramatic end but fear not, if you have the leisure of feeling involved between two yawns, nothing bad will happen and the status quo will prevail. “I would like to think of nothing”, says Bardot, meaning nothing, then she dances in front of a mirror since she only likes herself and not even that much. A couple of slaps later she’s back in the marital bed; a sex Goddess indeed.
Vadim and Bardot kinda invented reality TV, And God Created Woman a precursor of Temptation in the Kardashian Island. Is that worth of your time 60 years later? Definitely not, according to Vadim, whose last movie was a remake of the same, featuring Rebecca de Mornay, the American Brigitte Bardot. Sigh.