In this original and illuminating study, film scholar and Bardot fan Ginette Vincendeau explores the star's complex and revolutionary image of femininity, her film career and her lasting and controversial celebrity.
Brigitte Bardot's rise from fashion model and film starlet to global celebrity was meteoric and unprecedented: after her breakthrough role in Et Dieu ... créa la femme in 1956, audiences the world over rushed to see her films. Predating Beatlemania, she provoked mass hysteria: paparazzi stalked her, journalists, sociologists and novelists wrote about her; young women imitated her style. All at once sex bomb, radical proto-feminist and scandalous figurehead of a hedonistic and sexually free lifestyle, 'B.B.' was France's first mass-media star.
In this original and illuminating study, film scholar and Bardot fan Ginette Vincendeau explores the star's complex and revolutionary image of femininity, her film career and her lasting and controversial celebrity. Analysing all Bardot's output, encompassing popular comedies and melodramas, work with New Wave directors Louis Malle and Jean-Luc Godard, and international productions such as Dear Brigitte (1965) and Shalako (1968), Vincendeau shows how Bardot's enduring fame is based on her status as a sexual, lifestyle, musical, and fashion role model and even, in her guise as Marianne, the emblem of the French Republic, an icon of national identity. Finally, she considers the ageing Bardot's continued prominence in popular culture through her own writings and animal rights activism, arguing that, as well as a glamorous film star, Bardot was one of the inventors of modern celebrity.