"Bardot": what is the series worth on BB?

And Brigitte Bardot created the flame

"Bardot": what is the series worth on BB?

And Brigitte Bardot created the flame. The one who attracted and then burned the men who loved her. The one who woke up and liberated the women who adored her and then became jealous of her. The one who inspired the filmmakers who filmed her and who helped create the BB myth. It is at the birth of this legend that France 2 invites us to attend with this international co-production, dedicated to the youth of the actress, since her adolescence within a bourgeois family in post-war France. , until he was 26 years old and attempted suicide in his house in La Madrague, in Saint-Tropez.

Co-written and co-directed by Christopher and Danièle Thompson, this is the first foray on the small screen, this miniseries explores in six episodes the journey of a woman – who has remained elusive – behind the international star, of an uninhibited lover, erected in emblematic figure of sexual liberation in a still corseted society. And tries to understand how Brigitte Bardot became BB…

The business is as complex as it is risky. Attacking such an icon is never easy, especially during his lifetime. Now 88 years old, Brigitte Bardot, who left in 1973 - and in full glory - the golds of cinema to devote herself to the animal cause, did not mince words on the subject: "I am not even unaware of this stuff! But I don't care: the only thing that matters is my real life with me in it. And not bullshit biopics, ”she told the Sunday Journal last December, during an interview on the ranking of the 50 personalities of the French, where she had just made her entrance. Of which act for Danièle Thompson who claims to have contacted the star before the shooting: "We wrote each other for the series. I informed her, and she replied very kindly that she wanted to be left alone and that she trusted me. »

For lack of collaboration from the main interested party, the filmmaker and her son immersed themselves in the monumental documentation available to paint her portrait, the star having caused a lot of ink to flow – sweet understatement: "There was something fascinating to tell the trajectory of this extraordinary creature and the passions it unleashed, particularly in the press, explains Danièle Thompson. For me, BB represents a revolution, which was unconscious. She was a feminist, without wanting to be, but someone who wanted to be incorrect. "And to add:" We also wanted to talk about the shackles of this time, where we did not escape judgments on maternity and abortion for example, even with a destiny as exceptional as his. »

So much for ambition. What about how? No Bardot indeed, without a perfect incarnation...: "We launched the casting very early, because we said to ourselves that it was absolutely necessary to find the right person", recalls Pascal Breton, the co-producer of the series, and great admirer of BB "who gave [him] the passion for cinema". "And miracle! We found Julia de Nunez. Without being an actress, she was Bardot, naturally…”

This young woman of 22, who is taking her first steps in front of the camera, literally bursts the screen in the skin of the international star in the making. The resemblance is striking to the point of uncanny, from the disheveled blonde hair, to the doe eyes, to the sulky pout: "Brigitte Bardot has always been a part of my life, she is very familiar to me. Firstly because I have seen many of his films, and because I have always been told that I looked like him, including abroad, confirms Julia de Nunez. It's quite flattering, even if it also takes up a lot of space…”

Not sure that it will improve after the broadcast of the series, especially since the actress also managed to capture the particular diction of her illustrious model: "From the start, I was asked not to fall into the 'imitation, but to embody. I didn't try to bring this phrasing, this music. But I surprised myself to adopt it… ” Just like the sensual gestures of the sex symbol. She gives the full measure of it during a vibrant sequence in a club in the capital, which echoes the iconic mambo of And God Created Woman: "I took lessons to be able to play this scene. Dance is for her a space of release, of extreme freedom..."

Incredible Bardot, Julia de Nunez is surrounded by a skewer of talented actors, including Hippolyte Girardot and Géraldine Pailhas, who play Brigitte's parents, Yvan Attal, who plays Raoul Levy, the producer, in particular, of And God created the wife..., Louis-Do de Lencquesaing, disturbing Henri-Georges Clouzot, but also, and above all, Victor Belmondo, who appears in the role of Roger Vadim, the first husband and eternal friend of the star.

But a distribution, as brilliant as it is, is not enough to excite, if not to convince. Formally neat but very (too?) classic, the series has the frozen beauty of the pages of a magazine on which the image of the actress has been exploited to excess, her loves ruthlessly dissected. She lacks flesh and, despite her heroine's rage to exist, life. In this respect, the sequences where BB turns among his greatest successes are filmed like those where Brigitte drinks, smokes, loves, lives. In both cases, the gestures are supported, the dialogues emphatic. And the star's daily life looks like a New Wave movie...

Left at a distance, it is difficult to feel empathy for this woman, however neglected (notably by her mother), harassed by the paparazzi, vilified by the conservatives of her country, but who seems selfish there, solely focused on her need to to love and to be loved, even if it means hurting. Far from representing female emancipation, she seems totally submissive to her desires, and a slave to her impulses, which keep her in chains. The fault in particular with a scenario which multiplies the ellipses and blurs the understanding of this complex being, whose motivations are difficult to grasp.

Who is Bardot really? At the end of the six episodes, the mystery remains whole. Perhaps it will be clarified in a potential sequel, if the audiences, in France but also abroad, are up to the great expectations. The series will indeed be broadcast on Netflix after its passage on France Télévisions…