...And God Created Woman

...And God Created Woman ★★

Criterion Challenge 2022: Ana Lily Amirpour's Top 10

Criterion Spine #77

Well the cover of this film has long piqued my curiosity, and you can probably gather why. I am sure I am not the only one. Let's just say that this film's value is just about summarized by its poster. It is pleasing to look at.

The history behind the film is very worth reading up on, because it caused quite a stir when released. This is the movie that gave Brigitte Bardot, then married to Roger Vadim, her "it girl" fame. The film was extremely popular in Europe, and caused uproar in the U.S, as the Hays Code was still in effect.

The movie absolutely pushes sexual decency limits for the film medium. I can only imagine how big of a deal it was in the fifties. Even in 2022, while overall tame compared to present day standards, parts of the film are still risqué. It kind of feels like the nascence of the sexploitation movie, although it is very much a Bardot-ploitation.

I have no problem with sexploitation, but I want some value in the story to accompany it. I hate to say it, but this film does not offer much in that department. Rather, it exploits toxic gender stereotypes and gives a pretty sexist take on women overall. The ending pissed me off. I did not like how it went out. The message it leaves us with is that women are a nuisance and need a good slapping around once in a while. To make it worse, that they like being treated like this and that it is needed for a matrimonial relationship. I got no impression that the director was trying to make a commentary on these toxic dynamics, rather, I felt he was endorsing the film's politics. Even for the fifties, this feels like too immature a stance on male and female dynamics. And then what is the title supposed to imply? A male God created woman to pester men? Sick! Maybe I'm reading into it too far, but this is my reaction after finishing the viewing.

R.I.P. to Jean-Louis Trintignant. I guess the film is worth a watch for film history's sake, but not much beyond that.

“Will you come and dance the cha cha cha?”

“Never with a vacuum cleaner."

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