Love On A Pillow

Love On A Pillow

***1/2

Reviewed by: Merlin Harries

One can only imagine that the experience of watching Love On A Pillow (1962) is very different now to the initial experience in the year of its original release. Based on the best-selling work of feminist novelist, Christiane Rochefort, the film captures the iconic Bridget Bardot shortly after her turn in 1956's Et Dieu créa la femme launched her into the stratosphere of international stardom. The latter film, also known as And God Created Woman, was also directed by her then husband Roger Vadim and proved one of the pivotal steps in her rise to virtual canonisation as on-screen sex-symbol and cinematic starlet.

The inimitable and irrepressible persona of the Bardot that we know now, silver-screen seductress, activist and frequent feature of socio-political hullabaloo, is so very different to the demure bourgeois Geneviève Le Theil that any and all verisimilitude is lost. The film itself is essentially an enjoyable and whimsical romance between Renaud Sarti (Robert Hossein), a haphazard, licentious alcoholic and Le Theil, a well to do Parisian heiress.

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After Geneviève stumbles into the hotel room of her soon-to-be lover, following his ill-fated overdose of pills and booze, the transition from the mundane obscurity of her previous life to her new existence begins. Dominated by the frivolous and fanciful whims of her new suitor, Geneviève’s new life quickly becomes subject to Sarti’s every inexplicable taste and devilish desire.

The relative merits of her self-destructive love-affair with Sarti are agonised over by the friends and relatives of both characters throughout the film, resulting in a plot which proves comparatively unremarkable when compared to the likes of Et Dieu créa la femme. It is, however, enjoyable fare nonetheless. Ultimately, Bardot dominates, despite the fearful and overbearing actions of Sarti, her every movement and gesture brings to mind her later work, such as Jean-Luc Goddard’s critically acclaimed Contempt.

From the beautiful countryside of Florence, to the bustling hoi polloi or Paris, Vadim succeeds in showcasing Bardot throughout. The script may not espouse the fierce controversy of her later life, but Love On A Pillow represents a quietly enjoyable and thoughtful performance in what proves to be a romantic romp with hidden depths.

Reviewed on: 20 Mar 2012
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Love On A Pillow packshot
A young woman falls for a suicidal man.
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Director: Roger Vadim

Writer: Roger Vadim, Claude Choublier, based on the novel by Christiane Rochefort

Starring: Brigitte Bardot, Robert Hossein, Jean-Marc Bory, Michel Serrault, Jacqueline Porel, Jean-Marc Tennberg, Robert Dalban, Ursula Kubler, Christian Melsen, Macha Méril, James Robertson Justice, Yves Barsacq, Hélène Dieudonné, Jean Lefebvre, Paul Mercey

Year: 1962

Runtime: 102 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: France, Italy

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If you like this, try:

Contempt