The innocent, sometimes naive childlike “baby-doll” character has always been a popular one in cinema, certainly amongst the male audience. With the 1956 film “And God Created Woman” that gave Brigitte Bardot her breakthrough, Roger Vadim invented a modern version of “the eternal female” and launched a new type of eroticism.
Simone de Beauvoir explained the interest in this new “child-woman” in her book “Brigitte Bardot and the lolita syndrome”:
The adult woman now inhibits the same world as the man, but the child-woman moves in a universe which he cannot enter. The age difference reestablishes between them the distance that seems necessary to desire.
— Simone de Beauvoir
Brigitte Bardot is a perfect example of the merging of the “green fruit” and “femme fatale” type in the film ”And God Created Women”. She is playing the 18-year old ophan, Juliette who is very sexual and attracts all men – young and old. Juliette knows that all men find her attractive and play along with them. But the only one she really loves doesn’t love her back, so she is never quite happy.
Brigitte Bardot is the most perfect specimen of these ambiguous nymphs. Seen from behind, her slender, muscular, dancer’s body is almost androgynous. Femininity triumphs in her delightful bosom. The long voluptuous tresses of Mélisande flow down to her shoulders, but her hair-do is that of a negligent waif. The line of her lips form a childish pout, and at the same time those lips are very kissable.
— Simone de Beauvoir
Photo by Kary Lasch
We see the popularity of “the lolita syndrome” in cinema many times for example with Audrey Hepburn, Leslie Caron and Francoise Arnoul amongst many others. Not to mention in the hugely popular book “Lolita” by Nabokov.
The video-distribution company Criterion Collection, a “continuing series of important classic and contemporary films” has since 1984 been dedicated to gathering the greatest films from around the world and publishing them in high quality. If you are interested in films, I definitely recommend you to have a look at their site and blog where they write critical film reviews, discuss the newest film theory and create lists of recommended films to see.
They also maintain a YouTube channel where I recently stumbled upon their “Three Reasons” videos. If you sometimes find it difficult to pursuade your partner to watch a black and white film or a film from before the 21st century with you, these videos are amazing. They often sell the films better than the original trailers. Of course I’m not forgetting that Criterion Collective is a company who are promoting the films they sell, but because I actually agree with them in their film choices, I find these videos very useful. Also, after looking through the videos, I have added many films to my “I need to watch this” list.
Anyway, here are five videos from their Three Reasons channel. I highly recommend all these films, so I hope these videos will inspire your next film choice.
Belle de Jour (1967)
The Children of Paradise (1945)
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
In the Mood for Love (2000)
See more of Criterion Collective’s Three Reason’s here.
It all started in 1896 when “The May Irwin Kiss” was not only one of the first films ever to be shown commercially to the public, but also the first ever “film kiss”. The film kiss is almost inevitable in Hollywood and a necessity in the Romance. “The May Irwin Kiss” caused a scandalized uproar and sometimes even calls for police action in many places where it was shown. It was simply considered inappropriate to view two physically-unattractive people magnified on the screen during an extended kiss.
May Irwin and John Rice in The Kiss (1896)
Today, we are luckily not that sensitive anymore, and there are some pretty remarkable “film kisses” in the history of cinema. The film kiss can either be the satisfying “they finally got each other”-kiss or the heart-breaking “if they love each other they have to leave each other”-kiss, but it can also be a friendly “I’ll always be here”-kiss. Either way, they always leave us with some sort of emotion. Here are some emotional film kisses for you.
Jean Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg in À bout de souffle (1960)
Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina in Pierrot le Fou (1965)
Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in Gone With the Wind (1939)
Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg in La Dolce Vita (1960)
Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
Liv Ullmann and Bibi Anderson in Persona (1966)
Anne Wiazemsky and Balthazar in Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)
Scarlett Johansson and Jonathan Rhys Meyers in Matchpoint (2005)
Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes in Romeo + Juliet (1996)
Mathew Goode and Colin Firth in A Single Man (2009)
Diane Keaton and Woody Allen in Annie Hall (1977)
Gena Rowlands and Peter Falk in A Woman Under the Influence (1974)
James Stewart and Grace Kelly in Rear Window (1954)
Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway in The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
This is one of the most beautiful things I have seen for a long time. It’s a hand-tinted film from the early start of cinema (1895), produced by Thomas Edison. It shows Broadway dancer Annabelle Whitford doing the “serpentine dance”, which was a popular form of burlesque dance in the 1890s. The film was banned, because you see short glimpses of Annabelle’s undergarments(!). The illusion of her dress changing colours looks magical.