(And . . . God Created Woman)
Director: Roger Vadim
Production: Iena-Films-U.C.I.L.-Cocinor; Eastmancolor, 35mm, CinemaScope; running time: 95 minutes. Released 28 November 1956, Paris. Filmed in St. Tropez.
Producer: Raoul-J. Levy; screenplay: Roger Vadim and Raoul-J. Levy; photography: Armand Thirard; editor: Victoria Mercanton; sound engineer: Pierre-Louis Calvet; production designers: Jean Andre with Jean Forestier and Georges Petitot; music: Paul Misraki Cast: Brigitte Bardot ( Juliette Hardy ); Curt Jurgens ( Eric Carradine ); Jean-Louis Trintignant ( Michel Tardieu ); Christian Marquand ( Antoine Tardieu ); Georges Poujouly ( Christian Tardieu ); Jeanne Marken ( Mme. Morin ); Isabelle Corey ( Lucienne ); Jean Lefebvre ( René ); Philippe Grenier ( Perri ); Jacqueline Ventura ( Mme. Vigier-Lefranc ); Jean Tissier ( M. Vigier-Lefranc ); Jany Mourey ( Young Girl ); Mary Glory ( Mme. Tardieu ); Jacques Giron ( Roger ); Paul Faivre ( M. Morin ); Leopoldo Frances ( Dancer ); Toscano ( René ).
Vadim, Roger, and Raoul-J. Levy, " Et Dieu créa la Femme " (excerpts), in Avant-Scène du Cinéma (Paris), 15 November 1962.
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Evans, Peter, Bardot: Eternal Sex Goddess , New York, 1973.
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Frischauer, Willi, Bardot: An Intimate Biography , London, 1978.
Vadim, Roger, Bardot, Deneuve, Fonda , New York, 1986.
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Conventional accounts of the nouvelle vague commence with the annus mirabilis of 1959, when the new directors Truffaut, Camus and Resnais swept the Cannes Film Festival. But the true beginning took place three years earlier, when ex- Paris Match journalist Roger Vadim, then 28, released his debut feature Et . . . Dieu créa la femme . Its initial succès de scandale was reflected at the box office, and for the first time independent producers opened their purses to the frustrated generation of the new French filmmakers.
In 1952 Vadim had married 19-year-old Brigitte Bardot. After working as assistant to Marc Allegret, he felt confident enough to direct a vehicle for her sullen, bitchy beauty. Producer Raoul Levy helped raise funds via ex-band leader Ray Ventura. German actor Curt Jurgens agreed to take a role and guarantee the obligatory international appeal. Jean-Louis Trintignant, then unknown, played opposite the provocative Bardot, and would soon have a well-publicized affair with her.
Vadim wrote the story, based on fact, of two fisherman brothers feuding over a girl in the remote town of St. Tropez. Bardot, nude, pouting, deceitful, embodied the popular public stereotype of dissident youth. Christian Marquand and Trintignant were the brothers, Jurgens the rich man fascinated by a woman he can't buy. Pursuing his theories about the dramatic and erotic impact of color, Vadim set the tanned Bardot against white—sand, linen—to spectacular effect. Her appearance sun-bathing behind sun-dried bed sheets, and later at her own wedding breakfast wrapped in a sheet, were spectacular proof of Vadim's skill.
Shrewdly shot in Eastmancolor and CinemaScope, Et . . . Dieu créa la femme sold speedily to international markets, its notoriety feeding Bardot's fame and announcing to audiences everywhere that a new spirit was stirring in French cinema. Vadim's career did not flourish, but Bardot's did: in creating a character who followed her instincts in her contempt for money and for the sensibility of others, Vadim produced an emblem for the "Me Decade."
Jeanne Moreau is unequivocal about the significance of Et . . . Dieu créa la femme and Bardot's potency as a symbol. "Brigitte was the real modern revolutionary character for women. And Vadim, as a man and a lover and a director, felt that. What was true in the New Wave is that suddenly what was important was vitality, eroticism, energy, love and passion. One has to remember it was Vadim who started everything, with Bardot." In 1987, Vadim re-made the film in a New Mexico setting with Rebecca de Mornay and Frank Langella. It was not a success.