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Jean-Louis Trintignant gives a career-making performance opposite the luscious Brigitte Bardot in Roger Vadim's legendary succès de scandale.
Long unavailable in North America, the legendary ...And God Created Woman is considered by many to be the first work of the French New Wave (Godard's admiration for it is reflected in Contempt). Setting out to make Brigitte Bardot, who he had married when she was eighteen, into an international star, director Roger Vadim caused a salacious scandale by casting her as free spirit and "sex kitten" Juliette, whose appetite for men is boundless, and fixing his camera on her form (and feet!) as much as possible. A force of nature in the lush seaside setting of St.-Tropez, orphan Juliette has many men in thrall — "her ass is like a song," one quips — and three in particular: the abusive Antoine (Christian Marquand), who wants to seduce and abandon her; his timid brother Michel (Jean-Louis Trintignant, in a career-making performance), who wants to marry and be loyal to her; and a magnate (Curt Jurgens) who wants to buy her with gifts. Bardot all but bursts the copious Scope frame with her sun-bronzed sexuality; when she does a mad mambo, all the men in the bar watch her dirty, desperate dance with a mixture of anxiety and desire. Whether one enjoys the film as agreeably cheesy or as a taboo-breaking progenitor of the nouvelle vague, ...And God Created Woman's heady mix of Bardot and the Riviera, sun and sex, keyed-up colour and wide screen, makes it a retro imperative.