December 18th 2012. Pick Of The Day.

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The Jean-Louis Trintignant fest winds down its last days at FIlm Forum with a pair of identity mid-fuckers today. THE MAN WHO LIES sees every cinephile's fave cheery French bloke play a soldier in hiding from enemy troops, recounting tales of the people's resistance hero Jean Robin. But is JLT actually Robin, or is Robin about to appear? You think I'm gonna tell you?

Trintignant then takes a ride on the TRANS-EUROPE EXPRESS, playing the drug courier who inspires the imagination of filmmakers on board, and also the drug courier in their proposed film. Meta. Whatevah. The Grinless Gaul has been the recipient of an excellent overview from the Forum, and if you haven't seen any part of this series you're urged to attend. Not my Pick today however.

Two other important icons, the hard boiled Brigitte Bardot and the sultry Ben Gazzara, are the focus of twin screenings this day, only one at the same venue.

Ben Gazzara skirted the area between Hollywood's mainsteam and fringe, and did so for the bulk of his career. His studo breakthroughs of the late 50's led to more experimental films/lifestyle choices with John Cassavetes. One of the earliest Actors' Studio grads, he was at once easily pigeonholed and hard to replicate. Today the Anthology Film Archives present a pair of his best leading roles from his career's midpoint. Peter Bogdonavich provided the cigar-throated-at-birth thesp with a career role as the titular SAINT JACK, an low down ex-pat earning a jack-of-all-trades existence in Singapore, who finally comes upon a task that rattles his long thought lost conscience. TALES OF ORDINARY MADNESS cast him as the first screen iteration of Charles Bukowski. Synopsis unnecessary.

Bardot's haughty yet disinterested sex kitten persona made her an international sex icon of the 50's and 60's. That and the fact that she willingly got naked for the camera. I mean cameras. One of her early pre-rambunctious nymph efforts finds her paired with the great Michelle Morgan in Rene Clair's 1st color film, THE GRAND MANEUVER, a tale of sport seduction turning to genuine affection and the resulting chaos endured by the provincial French setting. A worthy effort and worth a viewing for cinegeeks interested in the CV of many of the cast and crew involved. Screening tonight at the Alliance Francais. Not my Pick, but a certain Bardot flick, screening as part of the JLT trib at the Forum, most certainly is.

Filmmaker Roger Vadim had to convert from his lifelong Russian Orthodox faith in order to marry the 18-year old Bardot, and that's sorta the whole plot of the film he created to showcase his wife's talents seen and otherwise. Believing she was underutilized in the growing world cinema market, he concocted a sex farce that pushed the boundaries of what was considered decent fare by general moviegoers of the mid-50's, and specifically the Catholic League and the Hays code in the U.S. Generally, cultural stirs that date back nearly 60 years are tame by today's standards. While no longer as controversial, the Vadim/Bardot flick that shook the world remains incredibly titillating, even hot. It reinforced the postwar adult attitude toward artistic represenatation of female sexuality, a movement bolstered, some maintain created, by Hugh Hefner in the U.S. with his newly minted Playboy magazine and its devotion to the hedonist lifestyle. Or as some would say of Heff as well it was blatant exploitation that set women's rights back 100 years. I can see both sides of the argument, but the fact remains; Brigitte Bardot looked fantastic in the nude, and tonight she proves it, along with the title of said film.

AND GOD CREATED WOMAN...screens tonight at Film Forum at 9:20pm. You owe it to yourself Stockers!

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Be safe and sound and make sure the next guy is too, knuckleheads! Mayan Apocaplypse Bash/Occupy Sandy Fundraiser this Friday at Lunasa, 1st ave between St. Mark's and 7th street, NYC starting at 8pm. The complete James Bond BluRay could be yours for a $20 raffle ticket! If yer in the nabe poke yer head in! Ketchyasoon!

 

-Joe Walsh