Archive for Odette Joyeux

Brigitte Bardot’s Twenty Six Bathrooms, part 2

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2012 by dcairns

Part Two. Fourteen to Twenty-Six.

This fake 1920s movie-within-a-movie in BOULEVARD DU RHUM is extremely beautiful, but it’s not a bathroom. nobody goes to the bathroom at all in this movie. Lino Ventura wears a bathrobe at one point, and Bardot walks past a swimming pool and is elsewhere seen by the seaside, but she’s wearing a swimming costume therefore she’s not washing. I repeat, it’s as beautiful as a bathroom but it’s not a bathroom.

14) LUMIERE D’EN FACE is another film set in a nightmare alternate universe where bathrooms don’t exist. In desperation, Brigitte bathes in a stream. The stream is thus an honorary bathroom. If that doesn’t convince you, she washes her feet in the kitchen sink. Together, that definitely adds up to a bathroom. It does!

15) LA VERITE de Henry-Georges CLouzot. Probably BB’s best film and performance, though she had a somewhat sparky relationship with HG. “I need an actress, not an amateur,” he growled. “And I need a director, not a psychopath,” she replied, rather smartly.

Here, Dany Robin usurps Bardot’s rightful role by undressing. In a bathroom. While Bardot lies helpless in the foreground. But our girl conquers the next salle de bain she finds, and order is restored.

16) LES PETROLEUSES. Once again we see how all the outdoors is essentially one big bathroom. Frenchie King and her gals freshen up after riding the range. So it’s a bathroom! It bloody IS! But if that doesn’t satisfy you, here’s a room and bath, with Brigitte in it. Not her best angle, but that’s because this is Michael J Pollard’s POV as he dangles off a rooftop.

17) LA MARIEE EST TROP BELLE. Written by actress Odette Joyeux, this piece of fluff features a rare glimpse of Bardot in the shower — an old-fashioned girl at heart, she generally seems to prefer the tub. Here she’s wiping herself with a cloth, but she shower isn’t running, so it’s possible she’s just standing in the bath. Or else attempting to dry-clean herself.

By contrast with LA VERITE, Bardot mostly just bounces in this film.

18) MIO FIGLIO NERONE was recommended by GeraldF, since it’s ancient world setting practically dictates that BB, as Poppea, bathe in asses’ milk. She does! Too bad the makers of HELEN OF TROY didn’t have the wit to enhance their tedious spectacle with the more edifying one of an undressed Andraste.

19) VOULEZ-VOUS DANSER AVEC MOI? Bardot is seen changing in her bathroom early on, in front of her mastiff-headed husband. Later, she spies from a vent into the men’s showers — I include her POV just to show we’re not sexist, and because the men’s showers is a form of bathroom we haven’t seen yet.

20) LES NOVICES — Brigitte cleans a bathroom. There is no form of interaction with bathrooms Brigitte has not had on screen. Except taking a dump.

21) VIE PRIVEE — another variant: Brigitte uses the bathroom mirror to write her suicide note in lipstick. Class with a capital K! The sensitive pan-and-scanning on UK TCM’s (dubbed) print robs us of the opportunity of seeing what she’s written, and how she’s spelled it.

22) CETTE SACREE GAMINE already featured last time (BB in a red towel, matching her later turn in LE MEPRIS), but here’s BB in the ladies’ showers, which offers yet another variant.

23) AMOURS CELEBRES — it’s Agnes Bernauer’s bum. I had to look Agnes Bernauer up, despite the celebre of her amour, and a good thing too, or I would have believed she was burned at the stake, as in the film, as opposed to drowned in the Danube, as in life. One would have thought a watery death more appropriate for BB, but she’s also incinerated in IF DON JUAN WAS A WOMAN, so she seems to arouse elemental associations of all kinds.

At any rate, this is another al fresco bathing. It’s bathing, so it’s a bath, but is it a room, without walls? An ancient philosophical question receives a saucy update, courtesy of BeBe.

24) SHALAKO — and the question becomes truly pressing. I’m surprised Guy DeBord or someone clever like that hasn’t written an appreciation of the light Bardot has shone on this particular issue.

Note Bardot’s shocking modernity — caught bathing by Sean Connery, she actually smiles. Saucy trout!

25) The observant among you will have noticed that apart from bathing, the activity most associated with Bardot is sun-bathing. Now, what those two forms of relaxation have in common is not bathing, since a sun-bath in no way involves immersing oneself in the blazing hydrogen of our nearest star, but the exposure of skin. Why this activity should so fascinate Bardot is another question for the philosophers.

I couldn’t find a copy of L’OURS ET LA POUPEE, but a video on VousTube happens to contain la scene de bain
About one minute in. This is a different bathroom from that included in Part One.
26) LOVE ON A PILLOW — two minutes in —
And that’s it! C’est finee! Time for a cold shower.
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Thinking in the round

Posted in FILM, Politics, Theatre with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 20, 2010 by dcairns

Watching LA RONDE again with an audience of one student (at this time of year they tend to be busy on shoots — but Joachim wrapped one project and came along to the screening the same evening, bless him: “I can go to the pub anytime.”) — struck as always by new details I didn’t remember seeing before.

When Simone Signoret rotates into view she’s standing under a little lamppost — an unlikely accoutrement for a carousel, but an apt one for a carousal.

Of all the guys in the film, Serge Reggiani may be the luckiest, getting to score with both Simones, Signoret and Simon, and he’s certainly the least grateful lover.

Always loved the scene where Walbrook leads Simone Simon through time, by walking in between sets, but this time I started wondering about the avenue of movie lights they pass — where does it lead? To other scenes in this movie, or to other movies altogether?

There’s something of an irony in Fernand Gravey playing Danielle Darrieux’s husband, since he was moonlighting as a resistance fighter during the war, spreading terror by night and shooting LA NUIT FANTASTIQUE by day, whereas Danielle’s record was slightly more spotty — she went on a goodwill tour of Germany (with Clouzot’s girlfriend) and got condemned to death by the Resistance for her troubles (a sentence which was later commuted to “Oh alright then we’ll let you off this time”). Her story seems to have been that she was trying to secure the freedom of her boyfriend, Porfirio Rubiroso, from the Gestapo. She succeeded, and being an international playboy he subsequently dumped her.

(Porfirio Rubirosa… How to explain the romantic appeal of this dashing Dominican diplomat? You know those long pepper grinders you get in Italian restaurants? Those are, unofficially, known as rubirosas. Think about it.)

I’m struck once again by the final exchanges between Gerard Philippe and Simone Signoret — what’s going on here? There’s a suggestion that she reminds him of someone, and she may in fact BE the person he’s reminded of, although he probably doesn’t realize it. And perhaps he was the young soldier who set her out on her strange path, sleeping with soldiers for free? But it’s all quite mysterioso and allusive. I watch the scene again when I get home, using the extended cut of the film that abruptly surfaced on Australian TV, without warning. The scene is longer but seems, if anything, more mysterious than before.

Plus there’s this great Walter Sickert-NIGHT OF THE HUNTER composition.

Most of the added scenes in the extended version involves Walbrook, but Jean-Louis Barrault’s whole section is a fair bit longer too. This includes an amazing transition from Barrault’s scene with the “grisette” (Odette Joyeux) to his scene with the actress (Isa Miranda). In a post-coital scene in Barrault’s split-level bachelor pad (fin-de-siecle version) Joyeux asks Barrault to put out the candles. Then a voice echoes out, “Yes, put out the candles!” Barrault looks up, and discovers that his apartment has no ceiling, and that he has Anton Walbrook looking down at him from a lighting rig. He does as he’s told, and Walbrook swivels the spotlight off Barrault and onto an entirely new scene, the theatre, where Miranda is taking her curtain calls. Walbrook announces the new scene, “The poet and the actress,” (which sounds like the set-up to a smutty joke, and almost is).

It’s a dumbfoundingly wonderful transition. The rest of the extended sequences are very welcome, but not to the same level of awesomeness, although there’s another shot of the intersticial space-time-continuum between sets, with Walbrook sweeping off into it in his opera cape, and a scene between Walbrook and Barrault in the snow outside the love nest he’s rented with Miranda, where both actors’ exhalations are visible in the cold air — Ophuls must have filmed in an ice-house, if not on location (my money’s on the former).

The reason for this long cut is apparently as follows — it was Ophuls preferred edit, but a preview audience reacted badly, so he pared it down to the version familiar to us. Following a quirky logic of his own, he didn’t much trim the opening scenes, saving his most severe cuts for late in the picture, effectively moving the scene of Barrault and Miranda’s consummation back from the countryside to her dressing room in the process. While many of Walbrook’s appearances were shortened (there’s some more business with him as a head waiter), the more extreme verfremdungseffekt moments, such as Walbrook censoring one steamy love scene by editing the film, were preserved in essence if not in length. Now Marcel Ophuls has done his best to suppress this alternative director’s cut, which I guess is his version of protecting his father’s legacy, but I can’t say I understand his logic (he’s also barred the German version of LOLA MONTES).

Even with the additional material, the film doesn’t quite have an end shot, surprisingly. There’s a cluttered frame incorporating theatre, street and movie studio all in one image, which is a nice idea but doesn’t quite come off compositionally, and then a freeze-frame of the idle carousel, which looks like something from the end credits of a US TV show. But so what? As Sidney Lumet put it, “Nothing has to be perfect,” and in a film as downright SUBLIME as LA RONDE, perfection might actually be a vulgarity.