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Discovering Mexico


Brigitte Bardot
Jean-Claude Carrière Film-maker
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Brigitte Bardot... I met her as we were shooting Viva Maria! I've spoken to her on the phone once since, but I never saw her again. That was our only meeting. Bardot was the physical masterpiece of our time, there was nothing more beautiful. Spending an evening at Bardot's, simply looking at her walk, stand up, sit down, dance a little, filling glasses, that was an outstanding show in itself. Everything went well, but there were some small run-ins during the shoot so I went to Mexico to find a Mexican psychoanalyst who would talk to Brigitte Bardot, and that was a very funny adventure in itself I have to say. And then Bardot told me, 'Look, if you need to find a man to tell me that what I really can't stand is having no private life and being so famous is a pain when I travel, if you need a psychoanalyst to tell me this, it really isn't worth it...'

But I have amazing memories of working with her, for instance in Viva Maria! Brigitte Bardot really did run on top of the train, jumping from one car to another, she really did it herself. It is an incredibly difficult thing to do, but in the film you can see she is the one who did it. At some point she had to go across some water, a very murky pond complete with snakes, toads, numerous insects, so we had prepared a diving suit that she could have worn under her clothes. She took one look in a mirror and she said, 'No, it makes me look fat'. So she took it off and she crossed the pond, with water reaching up to here, in a place where no Mexican would have dared to go.  But she did it, like that, with grace, and nothing bad happened.

Brigitte Bardot je ne l’ai vu qu’à l’occasion de Viva Maria. Je lui ai parlé une fois au téléphone depuis mais je ne l’ai jamais revu. Ca a été  notre seule rencontre… Bardot était le chef d’œuvre physique de notre génération, il n’y avait rien de plus beau. Passer une soirée chez Bardot simplement à la regarder marcher, se lever, s’asseoir, danser un peu, servir de verres… c’était un spectacle inégalable.Ca c’est très bien passé, il y a eu des petits disputes pendant le tournage ce qui m’a amener à aller au Mexique pour chercher un psychanalyste mexicain pour parler à Brigitte Bardot… ce qui était une aventure assez drôle, je dois dire. Et assez intéressante dans la mesure ou Bardot m’a dit après: «Écoute vraiment pour que… trouver un mec pour qui vient me dire que ce que je ne supporte pas c’est de ne pas avoir de vie privé, et que le fait d’être très connue me gêne dans mes déplacements… s’il faut un psychanalyste pour me dire cela, ce n’est vraiment pas la peine». Mais j’ai des souvenirs très beau d’elle au Mexique… par exemple dans Viva Maria, Brigitte Bardot a vraiment couru sur le toit d’un train en sautant d’un wagon à l’autre, elle l’a fait elle même. C’est une chose très, très difficile, on voit bien que c’est  elle dans le film. Il s’agissait à un moment donné de traverser un marigot, une mare d’eau vraiment très inquiétante avec des serpents, des crapauds, des quantités d’insectes alors on lui avait préparé une combinaison de femme grenouille, si j’ose dire,  pour mettre au-dessous de ses vêtements. Elle s’est regardé dans une glace et elle a dit non, cela me grossis alors elle l’est a enlevé et elle a traversé avec de l’eau jusqu’ ici, à un endroit où aucun mexicain n’osait se tremper. Mais elle l’a fait, comme ça avec beaucoup de grâce et il lui n’est rien arrivé.

French screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière (1931-2021) began his association with films aged 24 when he was selected by Jacques Tati to write for him. This early experience led to further contact with other film-makers, including Luis Buñuel with whom Carrière collaborated for many years. He wrote screenplays for films including Belle de Jour, The Discreet Charms of the Bourgeoisie, Tin Drum and Danton.

Listeners: Andrzej Wolski

Film director and documentary maker, Andrzej Wolski has made around 40 films since 1982 for French television, the BBC, TVP and other TV networks. He specializes in portraits and in historical films. Films that he has directed or written the screenplay for include Kultura, which he co-directed with Agnieszka Holland, and KOR which presents the history of the Worker’s Defence Committee as told by its members. Andrzej Wolski has received many awards for his work, including the UNESCO Grand Prix at the Festival du Film d’Art.

Tags: Viva Maria!, Mexico, Brigitte Bardot

Duration: 1 minute, 56 seconds

Date story recorded: January 2010

Date story went live: 18 October 2010