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Starring the 1950s beauty Brigitte Bardot, Et Dieu…crea la femme (…And God Created Woman) remains one of the most iconic films in French cinema. Not only did it catapult Bardot into international stardom, it pushed the boundaries of film-making not only in Europe, but also the conservative United States of America. Although America was currently under the spell of the sensational Marilyn Monroe, they were not prepared for the sensuality that came with Brigitte Bardot’s effortless sexuality and grace. Et Dieu…crea la femme tells the story of an 18 year old orphan called Juliette, played by Bardot, who terrorises her hometown with her sexual energy and her fickle attitude towards love. Surrounded by three suitors, Juliette takes great delight in teasing each one and more than once lands herself in trouble with her guardians.
The film, a devilish creation that embodies all of a traditional person’s fears, is at its best when we see Bardot manipulate those around her. The humour, an interesting mixture of light and dark, is not overwhelming; instead, it would be a stretch to categorise this film as a comedy. During the ‘50s, such behaviour within a young lady would be shocking, and such a provocation is exactly what the director, Roger Vadim, desired. It would be a lie, however, to call this motion picture flawless, because it is far from it. Without Brigitte Bardot’s menacing charm and the desperation sweating from her suitors, Et Dieu…crea la femme would be left with a vague, mostly petulant, plot line and screen writing. I believe that it is entirely Bardot’s presence that makes the film, as well as the scandals that came with it.
In conclusion, despite its clunky direction, Et Dieu…crea la femme remains one of the most important films in history. Although Bardot subsequently achieved fame that rivalled Marilyn’s, the furious backlash she received from the Catholic Church and conservative public makes it the most fascinating scandal within pop culture that shaped the future of sexualisation within the art of cinema. All in all, I award this film 3.5 out 5 stars.
The UoB Linguist Magazine
Guild of Students,
University of Birmingham