Brigitte Bardot now: Accusations of 'racism' as anti-Muslim letter leads to lawsuit
Next round of movie icon Brigitte Bardot vs. Muslims. No, Bardot's animosity has nothing to do with a planned Algerian-made sex melodrama called And Allah Created Woman. Bardot, like millions of others in France and elsewhere, apparently just doesn't like Muslims, period.
The star of Roger Vadim's …And God Created Woman and Louis Malle's Contempt is currently on trial for the fifth time since the mid-1990s for “inciting racial hatred” due to recent controversial remarks she made about Islam and its adherents, five million of whom live in France. (Free speech laws in France are clearly less encompassing than in some other countries.) French anti-racist groups filed a complaint following comments Brigitte Bardot made in a letter to right-wing French president Nicolas Sarkozy about the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha, in which a sheep or some other domestic animal is usually sacrificed. (Sounds like the American Thanksgiving turkey slaughter ritual.)
Brigitte Bardot 'racist' letter: Anti-Muslim sentiment
In reference to Muslims, Bardot wrote that she was “fed up with being under the thumb of this population which is destroying us, destroying our country and imposing its acts.” The Brigitte Bardot Foundation, whose stated aim is the protection of animal rights, later made the letter public.
Prosecutors have asked that the Paris court hand the 73-year-old actress a two-month suspended prison sentence and fine her 15,000 euros (approx. US$23,000).
Bardot did not attend the trial claiming illness. A verdict is expected within the next several weeks.
Brigitte Bardot, by the way, may not be just an anti-Muslim bigot. She has also attacked gays, immigrants, and the unemployed. But not all is lost. She is an avowed lover of animals.
Brigitte Bardot movies
Besides the aforementioned …And God Created Woman (1956), with Jean-Louis Trintignant, and Contempt (1963), with Jack Palance, among the most notable Brigitte Bardot movies are Claude Autant-Lara's Love Is My Profession / En cas de malheur (1958), with Jean Gabin and Edwige Feuillère; Babette Goes to War / Babette s'en va-t-en guerre (1959), with Jacques Charrier and Ronald Howard; and Henri-Georges Clouzot's Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award nominee The Truth / La vérité (1960), with Paul Meurisse and Charles Vanel.
'Welcome to the Sticks' box-office: Breaks record in France
Welcome to the Sticks / Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis (literally, “Welcome to the Land of the Ch'tis”), a comedy focusing on French regional stereotypes, has been seen by more than 17.4 French moviegoers since its Feb. 27 release. According to an Agence France Presse report, that makes Welcome to the Sticks the most successful French production in history – in ticket sales, the true measure of a film's popularity – surpassing the 1966 Louis de Funès comedy La grande vadrouille, which sold 17.3 million tickets.
If ticket sales remain strong, Welcome to the Sticks will end up surpassing James Cameron's 1997 romantic disaster-epic Titanic (20.7 million entries), which starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, to become the most successful movie ever at the French box office.
Dany Boon: 'Welcome to the Sticks' director, co-screenwriter, actor, and Ch'ti native
Welcome to the Sticks was directed by two-time (acting) César nominee Dany Boon – himself a Ch'ti – who also co-wrote the film's screenplay with Alexandre Charlot and Franck Magnier. Boon is also one of the film's stars, along with Kad Merad.
The plot is simple enough: Following orders from his bosses, a southerner (Kad Merad) moves to the Nord Pas de Calais region bordering Belgium. He's not happy at first, but once he's able to communicate with the locals – who speak an impossible-to-understand French dialect – he discovers that the Ch'tis are a kind-hearted bunch after all.
So far, Welcome to the Sticks, which cost 11 million euros (approximately US$17 million), has grossed 99 million euros (approx. US$153 million).
The origins of the nickname 'Ch'ti'
As per the AFP report, the nickname “'Ch'ti' emerged during World War I when soldiers from the region were teased by comrades about their prononciation [sic] of ch'est ti, ch'est mi instead of c'est toi, c'est moi (it's you, it's me).”
Dany Boon and Kad Merad in Welcome to the Sticks / Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis photo: Pathé Distribution.