Brigitte Bardot, ‘Viva Maria’
By Douglas Kirkland
Signed archival pigment print
Paper size 20h x 16w inches
‘United Artists sent me to México with Brigitte Bardot and Jeanne Moreau for ‘Viva Maria!’ There had been so many photographers there that the filming was not getting done so they closed the set and I was the only one who was allowed to shoot.’ Douglas Kirkland. The blonde bombshell, ‘B.B.’ Brigitte Bardot, a phenomenon of French New Wave cinema, considered by some as the sex symbol of the 20th century, is captured by Kirkland in Mexico City in 1965 during the filming of Viva Maria! Douglas Kirkland was brought on as a special photographer for the movie and spent time shooting Bardot and co-star Jeanne Moureau. Kirkland’s portraits of Bardot capture her natural eroticism, pictures of an unrestricted youth full of desire, evoking a sexuality not forced but felt. Bardot’s unapologetic sexuality created a force that inspired the sexual revolution of the 1960s.
With gazes that seems to look through the viewer and into the beyond, Kirkland’s photos of Bardot symbolise the profound effect the actress would have on Hollywood censorship. Bardot’s rebellious attitude towards traditional depictions of femininity helped break down barriers for the public and society at large. French feminist writer and theorist Simone de Beauvoir declared her the first and most liberated woman of post-war France.
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