Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Bardot and the Philosophes - Now with Pics!

The philosopher Brigitte Bardot and the gorgeous pouting A.C. Grayling

The Guardian celebrates Brigitte Bardot's 75th birthday with a short film in which people qualified to speak of serious things speak a few seriously gnarled truisms. My favourite is A.C.Grayling who seems to have been caught during dinner, about 2.35 from the end (the Guardian film counts down). He says something like this:

She represents the power of woman. The way she occupies space. If you look at the sculpture of classical antiquity, especially Greek sculpture, you look at these beautiful men and women, especially the athletic young men, you notice something extraordinary about them. These are wonderfully muscular men with beautiful proportions but they have very small genitalia, and the reason they do is that represents continence, so the shape represents something: it has a moral as well as a physical meaning. And Bardot has a moral and physical meaning, except that the moral meaning, of course, controverts conventional morality, so [and this is my favourite bit] she is a vivid, standing invitation to experience, inhabit, and acknowledge one's own lust, the sexual side of one's own nature because she is the imago, the actual perfection, the perfect shape of an attractive, erotic, desirable female.

Good God! Bardot was an attractive, erotic, desirable female! I always knew there was something about her but could never quite put my finger on it. And putting my finger on it naturally reminds me of those Greek gods. As I understand it now, there are all these Greek gods with their small genitalia calling us to be moral, and there was Bardot, occupying space, with her, vivid, er, standing invitation, calling us to be, er, moral but in a different way, and that is all about being erotic, attractive and, er, liberated.

He certainly nails it. I knew I should have gone to university instead of art school. The years of reason, scholarly method, acuity and sheer profundity I missed can never be recovered.

Though, admittedly, it sounds rather like a kind of Hugh Hefner Playboy philosophy. You see, they are so liberated they even take their bras off.

Meanwhile Bardot? Oh yes, The Guardian again, Bardot's right-wing rant shocks France, back in 2003. But hey, it's six years on. All is forgiven.

Note to self: Must get pictures of Bardot and Grayling. Always confuse the two. Or is it Hefner and Grayling? PICS NOW IN PLACE.


Gwil W said...

Thanks for the slideshow. Lovely to see Picasso with her. But why was he sitting on a higher step?

James H said...

"My favourite is A.C.Grayling who seems to have been caught during dinner.." - that's made my day. Coffee, nose, monitor etc.

But whilst I'm here inhabiting my own lust - Bardot's always been one of those universally-fancied women who are so universally-fancied that they do no more for me than set me off in fits of giggles.

Give me the young Anne Diamond any time (Will is in my head saying "terribly suburban, old boy")

Mark Granier said...

Anne Diamond? Nah, Kate Winslet, any day.

Bardot belongs to another era; her early images are set in amber (sometimes almost literally: those glimpses of heavily saturated, Technicolor skin, as in that scene with the gawping boys in Cinema Paridiso). Those were the heydays of the 'sex kitten', the ridiculous faux-sophistication of Playboy bunnies. Monroe and Fonda played their parts, and rose above them in far better movies. Perhaps Bardot did too (I many of her films). I used to think Bardot and Raquel Welch were immensely sexy, and later Anita Ekberg, wetly dreamed by Fellini in her Trevi Fountain (a sex kitten holding a kitten: she even made it into a Bob Dylan song):

'Yes Sylvia, I'm coming too' (but what happened to the kitten, and the rest of the night?).

And I always remembered this one, a rather less cuddly Ekberg in Boccaccio '70 (though of course she's still a figment of a very male dream):

Poor Fellini: wildly sentimental and mad as a hatter, but I have a great affection for his films.

Mark Granier said...

BTW apologies for going off on a tangent again, from Bardot to Ekberg, but James's Ann Diamond set me off, or 'perfume from a dress.'

James H said...

@Mark Granier: I don't think that Anne Diamond rules out Kate Winslet by any means. But I wouldn't admit it here. And anyway: Lilian Gish.

George S said...

That Ekberg clip is very much a classy attack of the 50ft woman, Mark.

As to Ann Diamond, hmm.

But there's Michelle Pfeiffer and Katherine Hepburn and the great MM of course. And Ekberg in and out of the Trevi. So many, dear boys, so many that I have forgotten half.

As a child I was deeply attracted to Fenella Fielding. The voice as much as the appearance. I liked dark fringes and the sound of smoking.

Tim P said...

MM? Melinda Messinger? Well I never ...

George S said...

Certainly not! I It was Minnie Mouse. Who else?

SnoopyTheGoon said...

If I may: there is something common between two points of view presented:

1. "she is a vivid, standing invitation"

2. "but could never quite put my finger on it"

Sorry, it was irresistible ;-)

George S said...

Yes, Snoop, I know. That is precisely why I used those expressions. The joke hadn't escaped me.: it was I who made the joke. Only sotto voce, sotto voce.