The Best Films I Saw in 2013

The cast of You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet
Updated 2013-12-30

 

Here they are, the best films I saw in 2013. It’s a Top Ten job with the best in no particular order, followed by a list of films that made the top ten at some point in the year, then got bounced. This is not a Best of 2013, let me quickly point out, just the best films I’ve seen this year. So a film everyone else has seen but I haven’t won’t be here (I’ve not seen American Hustle yet, f’rinstance). And there might be stragglers from 2012 in here which caught up with late. It really is “the best films I have seen this year”. If you’re wondering what to do with that Amazon voucher and your tastes generally aren’t multiplex, this might be a useful place to start.

 

1. You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet (2012, dir: Alain Resnais)

Alain Resnais, now in his nineties, proves there’s life in the new wave dog yet with an amazingly convoluted meta-drama based on two Anouilh plays, thick with formal experiment and managing to weld classical theatre to 21st century techniques. Amazing, and you can bet it made both Lars Von Trier and Todd Solondz chuckle too.

 

2. Aurora (2010, dir: Cristi Puiu)

The Romanian Cristi Puiu made The Death of Mr Lazarescu and also stars in what might be considered a follow-up, a film that tells a story while also running an audit on the current state of the homeland. The story: a very odd one, following what must the dourest hitman (Puiu) through concrete-coloured Bucharest as he goes about his often incredibly mundane business. Shot in long takes, in blue light, in the most unprepossessing of locations, with many shots half through doorways and focusing on the main character and him alone, it’s unique, remarkable and often quite baffling.

 

3. The Heat (2013, dir: Paul Feig)

Because no one is funnier than Melissa McCarthy right now, a buddy-cop comedy in which Sandra Bullock plays the uptight FBI agent reluctantly partnering a wildcat local cop (McCarthy). The plot is slender, but is just enough for Bridesmaids director Paul Feig to hang a few funny set pieces off. Better than that it gives a chance for the two actors to riff rude, with McCarthy inevitably getting the better of Bullock when it comes to being the swearier and more prepared to make herself look a fool. Fancy Bullock being in the best comedy of the year and its most popular sci-fi (which is not on my list because I haven’t seen it yet, for shame).

 

4. Angel & Tony (2010, dir: Alix Delaporte)

Big aah, a simple, short love story about a troubled beautiful young woman and the shy, fat middle-aged fisherman she rather unexpectedly hooks up with. Rather simply, this one’s all about the transformative power of love and is about as bloody lovely as films get.

 

5. I Wish  (2011, dir: Hirokazu Koreeda)

Hirokazu Koreeda’s drama is ostensibly about a kid who wants to make a wish, and believes that by making it at the exact point where two bullet trains’ paths cross, it is sure to come true. In fact he’s just the starting point for a whole series of lightly interconnected transgenerational stories, which the writer/director joins and rejoins. Everything about this film shouts genius – the placing of the camera, the casting, the acting, the editing. It’s also one of the sweetest films, so full of hope and life, I’ve ever seen.

 

6. The Kings of Summer (2013, Jordan Vogt-Roberts)

A coming-of-ager that has the raucous “fuck you” comic edge of Superbad and the elemental undertow of Stand By Me, The Kings of Summer is about a group of boys who head off to the woods one summer, mostly to escape their obnoxious, bullying, clever-clever parents, but partly just to do a bit of growing up. There they trap animals (or make out that they do), grow facial hair, invite girls over and get their hearts broken. It’s strange to find a film that intercuts comedy and heartache so well, that catches that great feeling of freedom that total irresponsibility allows, and which punctuates these switches between the two ends of the dramatic spectrum with contemplative “Ozu shots” of prairies and water and flowers, set to a soundtrack that manages to be both familiar and leftfield.

 

 7. She Monkeys (2011, dir: Lisa Aschan)

A Swedish drama that’s all about girls, power, sex and equestrian vaulting. Expect no fluffy bunnies in this one – in one of its twin-track stories we have a five-year-old girl sexually grooming her older babysitting cousin; in the other a butter-wouldn’t-melt blonde making a sumo-style All About Eve assault on a rival. Cool, unusual, brilliant.

 

8. Sightseers (2012, dir: Ben Wheatley)

A pair of incredibly dim British caravan enthusiasts set off on a tour of esoteric sites of special interest – museums dedicated to pencils or trams etc – and indulge in increasingly psychotic episodes of murder for light relief. A deadpan Natural Born Killers that will have you snorting liquid down your nose.

 

9. The Gatekeepers (2012, dir: Dror Moreh)

The best documentary I saw this year comes from director Dror Moreh, who somehow managed to get all the surviving former heads of the Israeli security agency Shin Bet to talk to him. What he have is little more than a series of talking heads explaining to Moreh how Shin Bet operates. But it is the way that Moreh structures the entirely stereotype-busting revelations dropping from these guys’ mouths – and they each look like a Bond villain of one sort or another – that makes this “jaw to the floor” viewing.

 

10. Silver Linings Playbook (2012, dir: David O Russell)

David O Russell’s sweet but never cute drama about a guy fresh from the funny farm (Bradley Cooper) and his burgeoning relationship with brassy fellow medicatee (Jennifer Lawrence). Underneath the warty carapace this is perfect Hollywood – everyone gets what they deserve, big lessons are learned, there’s silver linings all round, in fact. Or you could just watch it for the performances – Lawrence so good that she forces Robert De Niro to act. Even Chris Tucker puts in a great performance.

 

 

The “Nearly” List

The Sapphires (2012, dir: Wayne Blair)

We keep being told about the revival of the musical (clinkers like Chicago usually), so how come this one about a girl group of aborigine soul singers on a tour of 1960s Vietnam isn’t better known? It’s got songs, jokes, a bit of love and a standout Chris O’Dowd in the lead role. And it’s a true story.

 

Thale (2012, dir: Aleksander Nordaas)

Made for nothing yet looking like it cost millions, this Norwegian horror fantasy about a couple of police clean-up guys who find a mythical creature out in the cellar of a shack in the woods has plot, characters, looks, tension and, a few seconds of ropey CGI apart, is almost perfect.

 

Elena (2011, dir: Andrey Svyagintsev)

Andrey Svyagintsev’s throttled-back thriller about a woman in Russia, her boorish rich husband to whom she’s little more than a nurse, and her Soviet-throwback son and his family, a bunch of layabouts living out in the tower blocks.

 

Mama (2013, dir: Andrés Muschietti)

One of the seven thousand films Jessica Chastain made in the last year or so, Mama is a superior horror film that welds together the haunted house and malevolent-child genres and then throws a lot of switched sympathies into the mix. Watchable as an exercise in genre manipulation alone, or as an out-and-out horror movie, or as a bravura exercise in visual effects, this is one of the best mainstream horror films in years.

 

Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (2012, dir: Alex Gibney)

Close to The Gatekeepers for “well stap my vitals” revelations is Alex Gibney’s remarkable documentary about paedophilia in the Roman Catholic church, how the organisation has been aware for at least 1,700 years that the vows of celibacy and chastity tend either to attract weirdos or make people weird. And that the Church has, by virtue of its institutional power, been able to subvert secular legal systems. This is a gobsmacking documentary of the old-fashioned pavement-pounding sort whose conclusions are that, lovely Pope Francis or no, in terms of moral authority the Catholic church is a busted flush.

 

Shell (2012, dir: Scott Graham)

A star is born, in the shape (the face, mostly) of Chloe Pirrie, the focus of this lugubrious drama about a girl who works in an out-of-the-way petrol station owned by her father. Shell is the girl’s name, it’s the name of a petrol company too, a passing customer jokily quips to the girl, who responds with a deep lack of engagement. Which is what the film is about  – is she going to engage? With Adam, a guy in a hot hatch? With a passing travelling salesman? Possibly with her own father? God forbid. But on this slender “who?” and “when?” director Scott Graham hangs a powerful film as austere and dour as a low church chapel.

 

In the House (2012, dir: François Ozon)

François Ozon doesn’t make dumb films, and in In the House he’s made a film that on one level is about a superbright, sexually precocious, unsettlingly androgynous schoolboy (Ernst Umhauer) who starts writing increasingly personal stories for his teacher (the brilliantly disconcerted Fabrice Luchini). Before long the teacher is hooked, the boy has become a cuckoo in the nest, the wife (Kristin Scott Thomas) is discombobulated, and Ozon has crafted a drama of the sort you can imagine Jacques Derrida and fellow post-structuralists enjoying with beer and a pizza.

 

Byzantium (2012, dir: Neil Jordan)

Neil Jordan does something excellent with the vampire movie in Byzantium. He manages to weld the lush overheated velvet of the Hammer horror, all heaving bosoms and the male gaze, to the austere IKEA ambience of Let the Right One In. As two (possible) sisters of competing vampiric sensibilities we have Gemma Arterton (the busty, Hammer lust-bucket) and Saoirse Ronan (self-assembly vampiric waiflet). Add an abandoned seaside hotel in off season, a few luckless male victims, a couple of bounders and rotters who arrive from the girls’ past to help deliver a rousing Hollywood ending, and you’ve got a film that grips by the throat, teases, entertains and beguiles.

 

8 ½ (1963, dir: Federico Fellini)

This restoration of one of Fellini’s most famous films reminds us what a clever man he was, as well as a consummate film-maker. Taking as its starting point the non-starting Fellini after he had finished La Dolce Vita, it tells the story of a blocked director who hasn’t got the faintest idea what to do next. Which all sounds very indulgent and unnecessarily arthouse, until you actually watch as Fellini slowly starts to spin his on-screen phalanx of actors, make-up people, producers, the director’s diversions, dreams and fantasies into something elaborate, fantastical and even at times funny. Marcello Mastroianni is the Fellini stand-in, and the film is really helped by the presence of Claudia Cardinale and Anouk Aimée, about the hottest women on the planet back in 1963.

 

The Wall (2012, dir: Julian Pölsler)

A weird and wonderful re-imagining of Robinson Crusoe. But instead of a man, it’s a woman (Martina Gedeck). Instead of an island it’s the landlocked country of Austria, inside which a woman on a bit of a weekend break, or something, suddenly discovers that she’s locked inside her rural idyll by an invisible wall. And there she stays for years, making friends with various stray animals, writing her diaries, musing on what it is to be human, alone. A deceptively simple but wonderfully told story, which raises the question of how any of us might cope if suddenly cut off completely from civilisation. And Austria looks pretty fantastic too.

 

Broken Circle Breakdown (2012, dir: Felix Van Groeningen)

Bluegrass music in Belgium provides the sweetener for what looks for one awful moment like it’s going to be a film about a child getting a terminal disease and dying. A child does actually get a terminal disease but that isn’t really what this artfully shot, pungently written drama – about a much-tattooed beauty (Veerle Baetens) striking up a relationship with an ex-punk (Johan Heldenburgh) and becoming a singer in his bluegrass outfit – is about. And god can she sing.

 

Fireworks Wednesday (2006, dir: Asghar Farhadi)

Finally finding its way to some sort of release off the back of the Oscar success of his A Separation, Asghar Farhadi’s 2006 drama patrols a similar border, the one between traditional Islam and the blandishments of the West, and doesn’t so much wag his finger as point out the areas that are going to chafe. A simple story about a naive young girl who finds herself working for a family who seem to have adultery issues – and she’s about to get married herself – it is so well written, well cast and unobtrusively shot that it feels less like watching a movie more like eavesdropping.

 

Child’s Pose (2013, dir: Calin Peter Netzer)

Romania continues to come up with brilliant films, such as this dour drama about a horrible entitled mother trying to get her horrible ungrateful son off the charge of killing a poor child by dangerous driving. As much a portrait of the haves and have-nots of Romania and how justice is entirely in the service of only one of them (guess which), it is also a remarkable drama that withholds its true intentions. Hold on for the extended final sequence, when the mother goes to visit the dead child’s grieving parents, while the son waits out in the car, and remember to keep breathing.

 

The House I Live In (2012, dir: Eugene Jarecki)

Eugene Jarecki’s documentary about the sheer mess of US drugs policy points out the government has spent $1 trillion on the “war against drugs” since President Nixon initiated it, with the result that recreational drug use has changed not a jot. A well researched doc with the right talking heads, attitudinal but never strident.

 

Small Town Murder Songs (2010, dir: Ed Gass-Donnelly)

A drama that asks us to look at the character of an upstanding cop in a Mennonite community and divine the man he used to be – and it isn’t pretty. Peter Stormare’s hangdog features and impassive thousand yard stare make this hellish unusual type of film even more enjoyable.

 

The Queen of Versailles (2012, dir: Lauren Greenfield)

The documentary that asked us to feel billionaire pain, and succeeded. Starting out simply as a film about the building of the biggest private residence in the US, the enterprise somehow became something much more incisive – a story about financial mess we’ve all been going through, seen from the most rarefied of positions. Entirely fascinating.

 

Rust and Bone (2012, dir: Jacques Audiard)

Always making a bad film (Nine, Public Enemies) bearable and a good film (Inception, Contagion) better, Marion Cotillard is on absolute white hot form in this potentially blubbery drama about a woman who loses her legs and the bouncer (equally remarkable Matthias Schoenaearts) who gives her back her taste for life.

 

 

© Steve Morrissey 2013

 

 

Ten Films About Paedophiles

Kevin Bacon in The Woodsman

 

 

 

Paedophilia, or pedophilia if you prefer the spelling that’s probably going to win out, is not a pretty thing. In the media and in culture more widely it’s usually portrayed as a case of a rogue male preying on unknown children. In truth it’s much more likely to be about dad having sex with his little princess. For years. However, let’s not allow facts to get in the way of a decent bogeyman. Or boogeyman if you prefer the spelling that’s probably going to win out.

 

 

The Woodsman (2004, dir: Nicole Kassell)

Kevin Bacon plays the sex offender, fresh out of prison, whose temporary lodgings are right across the road from a school. Playing it as if everything in his life is tinder and could all catch flame at any minute Bacon gives one of those performances that mark him out as something special. Not many films ask us to feel sympathy for the child molester but in this muted, minor key almost-masterpiece we’re shown a man who craves normality, but is driven by uncontrollable urges, and we feel for him.

The Woodsman – at Amazon

 

 

L.I.E. (2001, dir: Michael Cuesta)

The acronym of the Long Island Expressway provides the title for Michael Cuesta’s debut, a film that patrols the line between “normal” and “abnormal” urges, focusing first on Paul Dano as a wastrel teenager whose agenda of light burglary brings him into contact with Big John Harrigan, played by Brian Cox with all the menace of Hannibal Lecter but loads more nuance. Does Big John want sex with the young man? We’re not entirely sure. Cuesta is dealing with the relationships that older men have with younger men, a territory society hasn’t been entirely sure about since the ancient Greeks.

 L.I.E. – at Amazon

 

 

Lolita (1962, dir: Stanley Kubrick)

This is not an unproblematic film but Kubrick’s Lolita does present a great opportunity to take a look at what happens when Hollywood gets cute. Vladimir Nabokov wrote the script but presumably had no choice in the casting – Sue Lyons plays Lolita as a young woman, not a young girl, and so the whole discussion about the appropriateness of a middle-aged professor (James Mason) lusting after a 12-year-old is all dissipated. Even so, how often have you seen this on TV, late night or otherwise, or even mentioned whenever Kubrick is discussed? Dangerous stuff, even on the back burner.

Lolita – at Amazon

 

 

Chinatown (1974, dir: Roman Polanski)

No, incest and paedophilia are not the themes of Chinatown, but the corrupting effect of power, the problems that arise when things that should be in the public domain but aren’t, they both are. So when Faye Dunaway delivers her “She’s my sister AND my daughter” line to Jack Nicholson’s detective Jake Gittes, and points the accusing finger at her dad, (played by John Huston), it’s a metaphor (he’s the man stealing the pure water from the good folk of LA, after all) and, let’s face it, the point where the film tips over into melodrama.

Chinatown – at Amazon

 

 

Precious (2009, dir: Lee Daniels)

Rape is not the theme of Precious (Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire) either. But it is just another sign that the life of our central heroine (Gabourey Sidibe) has hit special lows. Does this illiterate New York teen eat so much to make herself unattractive so dad won’t rape her again? The genre is misery memoir, the treatment almost 1950s in its “ripped from the headlines” megaphone approach. But some scenes are so potent – Precious’s mother trying to kill her daughter’s child because she’s jealous of it, and her daughter’s relationship with her man – that carping has to take a back seat.

Precious – at Amazon

 

 

Hard Candy (2005, dir: David Slade)

A revenge movie in which our heroine – her online name was Thonggrrl14 when paedo Lensman319 (Patrick Wilson) first got in touch – gets payback for “every little girl you ever watched, touched, screwed, killed.” Things do get a bit overblown, it’s true. And the film struggles to keep us from actually feeling sorry for poor Wilson as he’s put through the wringer by a young woman who’s much smarter, tougher, and possibly even nastier than he is. She’s played by Ellen Page, brilliantly. Wilson is unmissable too.

Hard Candy – at Amazon

 

 

Happiness (1998, dir: Todd Solondz)

Todd Solondz’s modern classic of discontent and perversity contains one of the creepiest father/son scenes ever committed to film (hats off to Dylan Baker), so shocking in fact that the film’s original distributor refused to handle it. And it’s the payoff to a film whose subject matter – what limit to the individual right to self-expression and happiness, as guaranteed in the American Constitution – is really tested to the limit. Even the title can be spoken as “A penis”. It’s a comedy. A funny, frightening, squirm-inducing one .

Happiness – at Amazon

 

 

Michael (2011, dir: Markus Schleinzer)

“This is my knife and this is my cock, which shall I stick in you?” the abductor asks the (roughly) ten-year-old boy he’s had locked in his basement for who knows how long. “The knife,” replies the boy. And he means it. Any Austrian film that is about a child being locked up in a basement by a paedophile is obviously going to bring to mind the Josef Fritzl case. The brilliance of Markus Schleinzer’s creepfest with the matter-of-factness of Let the Right One In is that he keeps us rooting for the young boy even as we slightly sympathise for the damaged older male.

Michael – at Amazon

 

 

Festen (1998, dir: Thomas Vinterberg)

Having announced the Dogme manifesto alongside Lars Von Trier in 1995, Thomas Vinterberg made the first film that stuck to its puritanical precepts (no music, no lighting, no budget, basically). His Festen (aka The Celebration) takes place at a gathering in honour of a family’s patriarch, now celebrating his 60th birthday, at which dark secrets from the past start to knock at the door and then break right through it. It’s a farce done straight, pretty much, Vinterberg forcing his family of shocked and shocking drunks to remain at an event when no real person in their right mind would .

 Festen aka The Celebration – at Amazon

 

 

The War Zone (1999, dir: Tim Roth)

Tim Roth’s only directorial effort so far is a tough watch – even the normally beautiful Devon countryside looks brutal through his eyes. Peeking into a dysfunctional family’s inner workings, it paints a more nuanced picture of incest than is usually the case, watching as the power relations between a brother and sister are pathologically distorted by the fact of their moody dad (Ray Winstone) secretly tupping the daughter. Why is she the favourite? That’s the unspoken question written on the sullen face of Tom (Freddie Cunliffe), while his sister (Lara Belmont, in a performance that seemed to promise a great career) uses her brother’s hurt as a “because I’m worth it” salve.

The War Zone – at Amazon

 

Plus one documentary:

 

Are All Men Pedophiles? (2012, dir: Jan-Willem Breure)

Netherlander Jan-Willem Breure’s documentary is more about how society deliberately conflates hebophilia (the love of the teenager) with paedophilia and why this has become more problematic in recent years. As a work of academic research it’s not perfect by any means – there are contradictory statements at every turn. But it is more thoughtful than its critics would have us believe, Breure isn’t just a guy who “thinks teenage girls are hot” as the blog Jezebel put it. Its talking heads do know what they’re talking about and at least the film does usefully start the process of unpacking what exactly we mean by such an inflammatory term and why we’re currently obsessed with it.

Are All Men Pedophiles? – at Amazon 

 

© Steve Morrissey 2013

 

And God Created Bardot

 

“I am really a cat transformed into a woman… I purr. I scratch. And sometimes I bite.” Brigitte Bardot – icon, activist, bigot and just possibly the future president of France. By Steve Morrissey

 

In a recent poll of the Sexiest Movies Stars by the film magazine Empire, Brigitte Bardot squeaked in at number 98. Down the list maybe, but she was nestling next to Thandie Newton, one of  the undisputed knockouts of our time. And that isn’t bad for a woman who hasn’t made a film in 40 years.

Which raises the question: why is she still so fondly remembered? It’s not her ageless good looks. Bardot has always refused the surgeon’s knife and at 76 look less like a film star, more like a bag lady. She’s got a mouth like one too, making no attempt to keep her often inflammatory remarks to herself.

It’s not the acting – “I started out as a lousy actress and have remained one,” she once famously said.

But in her prime Bardot had better lips than Angelina Jolie, sexier curves than Scarlett Johansson, more sass than Cameron Diaz and an alluring aloofness that even Uma Thurman cannot match.

Smoking, you could say. But the original sex kitten’s claim to everlasting fame rests on more than just her looks: Bardot changed womanhood for ever.

Before Bardot we were in the era of Monroe – all artifice and structure and feminine wiles. Along with the helmet hair, the careful lipstick and the dresses nipped in just so came the breathy voice and the girly giggle, the whole thing a towering meringue of deceit, beneath which lay an intelligent woman who had played dumb so long it had unhinged her.

Then came Bardot, and the tousled hair, bedroom eyes, airbed pout and languid limbs which seemed to say – Here I am boys, no artificial colours or flavouring, what you see is what you get.

What you got was gorgeous of course, but it was also something new – in an age before teenagers had even been properly defined, Bardot was wearing little gingham bikinis and loose clothes, her hair falling provocatively from its pins in a style which has never been done as convincingly since. Bardot wasn’t adult in the old way (work, kids, duty), she was adult in the new way (fun, freedom and a licence to fool about), the accent on youth, not maturity, sex not security. It’s the way we all still are, or a lot of us would like to be.

Bardot became an international film star aged 21 in 1956. She was the only French star who could really open a film in America, before or since. The French president De Gaulle called her “the French export as important as Renault cars”. The writer Simone de Beauvoir declared her the most liberated woman of post-War France and “dangerous in the eyes of society.”

The Americans agreed. In Philadelphia and Cleveland, Providence and Memphis, cinema managers were arrested for showing the film that made her name, And God Created Woman.

 

Brigitte Bardot on the beach
Brigitte Bardot in And God Created Woman, the film that created the Bardot myth

 

 

 

All of which obscures an interesting and often overlooked aspect of Bardot’s fame – her films stink. Apart from Louis Malle’s Vie Privée and Jean-Luc Godard’s Le Mépris there’s virtually nothing of merit. A look at her back catalogue reveals fluffy nothings or full-throated yodelling turkeys. Even And God Created Woman, the film that single-handedly created the international appetite for what is now called World Cinema, is virtually unwatchable, Bardot apart.

But Bardot’s films aren’t the reason why she became popular and has stayed popular. It was her refusal to play the game, to be the old fashioned little lady.

The turning point came on her  26th birthday in 1960 when she tried to commit suicide. The pressure of fame, the constant mobbing by fans and paparazzi (see the virtually biographical Vie Privée for more details), the headline marriages and affairs and divorces simply became too much. “I have no private life at all. I am a hunted woman”, she said and she hit the release valve by swallowing a bottle of pills and slitting her wrists.

After she recovered, she was never quite the same again. Never a lover of the limelight, she turned her back on the mad grasp for fame and started doing just what she wanted.

She tried to retire from acting, but was lured back with promises of “one last hurrah”, in films which – like the others – squawked.

In 1967 she recorded the song Je t’aime… moi non plus with Serge Gainsbourg, then forced him not to release it (history reveals she got her way. Gainsbourg had the international hit with Jane Birkin).

Eventually in 1973, aged 39, she decided once and for all that she would retire, after yet another flop with the film Don Juan.

Paris-born and French to her cuticles, Bardot has never wanted to live anywhere else or be anything other than French. She could have gone to live in Hollywood but didn’t. She refused a seven year contract with Warner Bros in fact, preferring to return to her homeland.

Having turned her back on films, she then proceeded to turn her back on humans too. “I gave my beauty and my youth to men. I am going to give my wisdom and experience to animals.” she said on retiring.

Her campaigns for animals – her Foundation fights animal cruelty in many forms – has won her admirers but her pronouncements on immigration into France, Muslim immigration in particular, have shown Bardot in a different light.

If we were being charitable we might excuse Bardot’s comments as the utterances of a woman who is simply proud to be French, too fiercely proud maybe but with impulses which are basically noble. Or perhaps not. Being married to a former advisor to the Front National certainly doesn’t suggest Bardot secretly works shifts at an immigrant shelter.

But even so in a world of airbrushed public figures there’s something refreshing in her stuff-you attitude. “I have the courage of my convictions” she says. “I don’t beat around the bush and I am about the only one who doesn’t in this bloody country”.

The Ecology Alliance seems to think so, and is reportedly trying to persuade Bardot into becoming their candidate in the 2012 presidential elections.

Will she stand? Probably not – politicians need to be good actors and Bardot has admitted she’s not. But it would make a great Hollywood finish to any movie about her life, rumours about the making of which are constantly in circulation.

“A film about me?” she told a French radio station recently. “Nobody would be able to pull it off.”

© Steve Morrissey 2011