I've never been to France and I don't know too many French folk. But I did attend quite a number of Brigitte Bardot movies in my youth and they opened the door to all that Gallic goulash. It tasted good to my plebeian palette! Her bare buttocks and bazooms filled many a screening room with the stench of meat-and-potatoes people who couldn't afford a plane ticket to that freewheeling continental hothouse.
Of course, Anita Ekberg warmed up the idea of Sweden to many with her Swedish meatballs. They that were always cooking in some Bob Hope flick. But Ms. Ekberg was on a low burner compared to Ms. Bardot. When the Swedish bombshell hit it big in that Fellini masterpiece, La Dolce Vita, it was with the highbrow crowd and they generally repressed their libidos with Ingmar Bergman pictures.
Many Brigitte Bardot films were directed by Roger Vadim. If ever you want to get a glimpse of movie stars without clothing, his movies are always a good bet to fulfill that wish. An ex-student of mine used to walk his dog down in Los Angeles, but she never gave me any insight into his personal life. Perhaps the fact that he had a pooch might have softened the portrait his ex-wife, Brigitte, painted in her book, but I doubt it. I hear the volume was voluminous with vitriol toward her male cohabitators. I didn't read the book, because I couldn't find a copy printed in English. Seeing her in the foreign language films was my only introduction to that musical lingo.
Jean Miro was a good actress, too, and I always appreciated her miserable expressions. They seemed closer to my life. I used to enjoy going to the Truffaut movies and seeing her down-turned mouth move to Bernard Herrmann's music. There seemed to be a lot of “Jeans” in French movies; I would occasionally attend a Jean Gabin picture. He was rather puffy and reminded me of my alcohol-abusing relatives.
I took a French class in high school. It was taught by a middle-aged lady who looked like Edith Piaf in bowling-ball mode. She was very short, very round and shrouded herself in black. The woman was quite animated, being that her size made her immune to gravitational force. I admired her spitting spunk; her verbalizations were rather sharp and wet. She also could've passed for Italian and would've made a good bocce ball.
I met French people when I got older and marveled at their maturity. One man, who is very French-sounding is the author Jacques Vallee. He and his wife, Janine, had very melodious dialects. They sounded as if they had just stepped off a French ocean liner. I'm sure he would've preferred it to be a flying saucer, as he is a scientist who belongs to the “INVISIBLE COLLEGE.” This is the name given to a group of accredited scientists who clandestinely investigate UFO reports. Dr. Vallee is not a flake floating in granola gruel as he regularly ingests Denny's delights (goodies from the Denny's restaurant chain). The man is to be trusted because of this, although he does make fun of other UFO buffs in various flying saucer clubs who imbibe Fanta sodas. He is definitely a wine man and that makes him truly French in my eyes. We had many memorable meetings, as I was an avid reader of his UFO books. He and Janine were my French encounters of the third kind.
Being a film professor at an art asylum made me rub shoulders with several French youngsters who always seemed older than me – wiser and thinner, too. We just rubbed shoulders and that's all, though, as nowadays you have to keep your distance to avoid a sticky situation. It wasn't always like that. But now that I'm old it really doesn't matter, as I don't think young, Parisian students care for the moisture-impaired (even though I grease up nightly with European oils). Maybe someone from an island chain in the southeast equatorial region won't find this brittle barrier a deterrent to hot action, but that's another story. I'm glad that the world is full of free souls encased in even freer bodies that occasionally open up to American riffraff who attend their cinema and appreciate the aroma, be it Gallic or garlic.