Movie Stars: Bardot, Brigitte–Notes on a Woman that Was More than an Actress or Sex Symbol

Brigitte Bardot may have been the most famous and the most iconic French femme since Jeanne D’Arc.

No other woman has ever accompanied such a revolutionary change in mores and styles

She embodied the symbol of potential and possible permissiveness, if not outright promiscuity, on screen and off.

Brigitte Bardot was more than an actress, movie star, or sex symbol–she was a state of mind.

Like few other stars, Garbo comes to mind, Bardot the screen image was untouched by age or reason, unlike the real-life woman, who did not age so gracefully.

She projected a spontaneous attitude of her body and her mind.

Bardot represented the essence of youth, define by her appearance, hank of long blond hair, dream of a mouth (sexy and pouty), perfectly proportioned body and frame (breasts and hips included).

She was not beautiful by any classic definition, but what mattered was not so much her physicality as her unbridled eroticism, and ambiguous sexuality

She liberated the world’s conventional mores of the 1950s by being lucidly amoral, disdainful of conventions.

She chased off restraints, attacked bourgeois hypocrisy with gusto, made love with distinct pleasure.

Her instinctively expressive  body–the way she moved, the way she walked, the way she stood,, the way she talked, the way she dressed.  She did with her body as she pleased at the moment.

She expressed the double standards of the bourgeoisie, the forces of  respected and respectable morality, reversing the normative order of things by turning men into toys, objects of pleasure and playthings to be used and then discarded as she pleased.

She reversed the dominant male gaze by doing the staring herself–looking and gazing at men, the way they used to look and gaze at women.

Bardot made various kinds of movies, though essentially she strove to rise above and beyond and out of her movie plots and movie roles.

In her early movies, there’s appealing clumsiness about her, deriving from boredom with the familiar and ordinary.

She often projected  a puppy-like energy, an eager ness to please, but on her own terms.

In her lighter comedies, she often stripped with mirthful joy

In her heavy (and turgid) tragedies, she was often the catalyst of disasters and tragedies.

Bardot lived  blatantly, courageously and dangerously in the ever-staring, ever-probing public eye.

She was quoted as saying: “I may be dead tomorrow, so I live  for today. Tomorrow is a different day.”

She was the star of life itself, rather than the star of the big screen, or media, or the press.

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