Directed by Roger Vadim
Directed by Luis Bunuel
Since discovering the Criterion Collection on HuluPlus, I have been so excited to watch international movie classics, namely European ones. Et Dieu...crea la femme and Belle de Jour are films frequently referenced in the fashion world and serve as inspiration for magazine spreads. It's not hard to understand why: the lead actresses in both films, Brigitte Bardot and Catherine Deneuve, are irresistible and captivating.
Belle de Jour is quite complex--Severine (Deneuve) is married to a doctor, but although she refuses to be intimate with him, she becomes a prostitute in the afternoon. There are parts where Severine daydreams of her husband punishing her that took me a moment to register because they seem so random (the film's opening scene is unexpected). As Severine longs to be with her husband while at Madame Anais's, she wishes for freedom when she is alone with her husband.
Juliette (Bardot) in Et Dieu...crea la femme is a vivacious, sensual character. A young girl in the South of France, she is known as the wild child of the village. Juliette is almost sent back to the orphanage when she is rescued by a marriage to her lover's younger brother. She tries to learn to love her husband until her lover comes back to town. All the while, the plan to have Juliette married was a plan orchestrated by a wealthy entrepreneur in love with the girl. As a married woman, Juliette struggles to stay faithful to her husband and restrain her liveliness.
I love both movies (and would be happy having the wardrobes from each one) but I would have to say that Et Dieu...crea la femme is my favorite.