La Piscine (Jacques Deray, 1969).
Jane knows the way of it.
Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin in If Don Juan Were A Woman (Vadim, 1973).
Faust: My heart’s on fire — let us depart!
Mephistopheles: This is the true poetic art
and I have never met with prettier poets;
Could they but keep the secrets of their trade.
(Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust. Part I, Act 1, Scene 3: “Witch’s Kitchen.”)
(I was concerned that the photo credits would break up the rhythm and impact of the poem, so I’m putting them down here.)
top: Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin, Don Juan ou Si Don Juan était une femme…, aka Female Don Juan, aka If Don Juan Was A Woman (Roger Vadim, 1973).
second from top: Jacqueline Sassard and Stéphane Audran, Les Biches (Claude Chabrol, 1968). Spoiler: one is about to stab the other in the back. Interpret freely and watch for yourself.
third: “Grand Apple Face” by patron saint Sam Haskins. In-camera photo montage before the age of photoshop. Amazing. RIP.
last: “Poisoned with love” by miss- alienation on the d.a.
I will take your heart.
I will take your soul out of your body
As though I were God.
I will not be satisfied
With the touch of your hand
Nor the sweet of your lips alone.
I will take your heart for mine.
I will take your soul.
I will be God when it comes to you.
(Langston Hughes, “To Artina.”)
Synecdoche and possession in the eye of the male observer — murdering the Object: it is a Thing.
Photographer unknown, picture comes from a vintage Pirelli calendar shoot. Kind of a Jane Birkin Inspiration Station thing happening. I approve.
The gold moth did not love him
So, gorgeous, she flew away.
But the gray moth circled the flame
Until the break of day.
And then, with wings like a dead desire,
She fell, fire-caught, into the flame.
— “Fire-caught,” Langston Hughes.
Et tu, Jane?
A personal patron saint, Jane has come up several times on this journal but on review I see it has so far been only in regard to her daughter (yay), the lovely and talented Lou Doillon, and her second husband (boo), Serge Gainsbourg, a personal devil. That is a scandal. Here is an entry in her own right.
Lou Doillon by Max Vadukul for Vogue Italia, August 2009
“Crescendo ho ocupato l’unico spazio rimasto libero in famiglia; quello dell’eccentrica, del giullare che strappa un sorriso. c’era talmente tanta perfezione che solo comportandomi in modo diverso sono ruiscita a trovare me stessa.”
Photograph via The Following Aesthetic Reasons
If you are not lucky enough to speak Italian (I am mainly not, either, no worries!), then here is a very rough translation pieced together via babelfish (don’t you love that it’s named for a Douglas Adams invention), Conversational Italian in college — which I spent most of my time ditching to fuma (smoke) and hang out with various uomi (men!), in my defense, I was being hella Italian — and a couple online dictionaries:
Image via thebeautymanifesto
“Growing up, I occupied the only space which remained free in my family: that of the eccentric, that of the jester who snags a smile. There was so much perfection that being involved in various ways has helped me to find the same [in life].”
A bit of background. Her father is director Jacques Doillon, and her mother is international superstar, ye-ye idol, and reknowned vintage beauty (a personal patron saint) Jane Birkin. Oh, and Jane’s previous husband was probably the most famous and successful male French musician of all time, (a personal devil) Serge Gainsbourg.
Beautiful, marvelous, multi-talented Jane Birkin during her marriage to That Creepy Soul-Reaper (Gainsbourg).
Birkin’s relationship with Lou’s father, film director Jacques Doillon, ended her marriage to Gainsbourg, and because of that the French press have a love-hate relationship with Lou: on the one hand, she is a daughter of cultural aristocracy; on the other, her very existence symbolises the end of one of France’s great love affairs.
Lou’s various step and half-sisters are famously beautiful models, actresses, and musicians such as Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kate Barry, and Lily Doillon.
After a deliberately outre ugly duckling phase and some raw turns in cool indie flicks, Lou has been slowly transitioning in to a model citizen herself. So … yes, I can see where she is coming from with that quote. She’s a really cool chick, and as you can see from this small smattering from my collection of pics, she has taken it off, so she gets to be billed as lovely and talented, to boot!
I’ll get to more about her another day, I guarantee, because I think she is a smashing girl! but right now I need to go put on my Square Face (read: look freshly-made-up, decently-dressed, and reliable and maternal) for my kidlet’s first parent-teacher conference. I don’t want my appearance or attitude or nuttiness or any grain of reality about myself to seep through to her teacher and influence said teacher’s attitude toward her. I know that’s crazy, but it’s a fear. Wish me luck!
Today’s Model Citizen dossier is on the lovely and talented Vanessa Paradis, model, actress, singer, partner of eleven years to Johnny Depp, and mother of their two children. She’s a busy bee.
If she does not asplode your brain with her sexy, winsome flower child French cuteness, you have no soul.
Vanessa Paradis began her career as a singer, then acted, then modeled. She kind of did it backward, right?
At 15, she had rare cross-Channel success when her song “Joe la taxie” charted in both the UK and France. The single came from her debut album M&J (Marilyn et John), which got mixed reviews. She received a lot of backlash in the press and from peers about her explosive popularity and her kind of pouty, sultry look, like she could possibly control either of those things. “Sorry I’m crazy-beautiful and an overnight success, I take it all back and I’ll burn my face with acid,” is that what they want to hear?
Anyway, she was nearly booed offstage at an awards festival at Cannes, but she soldiered through and performed anyway; when she came back to do another number later in the show, she got huge applause just for coming out. So I guess people aren’t total dicks. At another awards show, she sang a cover of a Serge Gainsbourg song, which got his attention. I’ll leave it up to you to interpret whether that was a good move. (I try not to go off on the topic of Serge G, but it is sometimes very difficult.)
[Serge] Gainsbourg, present in the audience that night, was greatly impressed by the young singer’s talent. The legendary singer/songwriter soon contacted Vanessa Paradis, offering to write a series of songs for her. … Vanessa Paradis and Serge Gainsbourg hit it off immediately, Gainsbourg nicknaming the young singer “Lolycéenne” (“Lolita schoolgirl”). — RFI Musique
Why does it seem that French women are amazing and French men are so consistently creepy? I hate the way that makes me feel. Anyway, she moved to America in the early ’90s, dated Lenny Kravitz for a bit — another creep who somehow scores amazing women (Nicole Kidman?! really? that blew my frigging mind) — and released an English-language album in 1992. She has this whole French ye-ye girl-remastered-by-Phil-Specter sound that kind of eludes a place in the highly structured American recording industry, so she slipped through the cracks, but right about then her acting career was picking up, so it was no big deal, I guess. Here is a video for the very catchy “Be My Baby,” from the 1992 self-titled LP. You can see what I mean about her sound on there. Very 60’s. I like it.
Enough talky-talk. God, I get going on music and I don’t shut the hell up. I’m so sorry. Long story short, she is with Johnny Depp now and they have two rocking-adorable kids and her life is awesome and she is a really cool, graceful, giving lady who is also super-cute. The end. PICTURES.
Oh…and she has quite the smile.
I find it totally forgiveable and actually endearing — it’s gappy, sure, but because of that it is adorable. It’s kind of funky and charming. Bardot style, y’all. I love busted grills. I can’t even begin to overemphasize that enough. Love them.
Just in case you thought I had lost my touch, here’s a NSFW shot to finish us off.