Over the next two months, Brigitte Bardot will be the subject of an extraordinary exhibition at La Cittadelle in Villefranche-sur-Mer, at the Chapelle Saint-Elme. This is happening on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of BB, who will reach this special age on September 28. Throughout the Côte d’Azur, the film star, who has captured the imagination of many generations, will be remembered.

“Although Bardot was praised for her beauty and talent, she was also a trailblazer, challenging established norms and revolutionising preconceived notions about femininity and independence,” said Nice-Matin perceptively in a review.

The exhibition in Villefranche ‘BB, beyond the image’ also marks the 70th anniversary of the first movie in which she stood out: ‘Act of Love’, a French-American co-production by Ukrainian director Anatole Litvak starring Kirk Douglas and Dany Robin, among others, and which is largely set in the port of Villefranche. She was 19 years old at the time and played the role of a waitress in a restaurant. It was a small role, but it turned out to be the starting point of an immense career on the big screen.

Of course, one room is furnished with memories of this film, which is about an American soldier who returns after the Second World War to a beautiful seaside resort where he had fallen in love with a Parisienne during the war. There are a few local testimonies of Bardot’s presence in Villefranche, who stayed at La Mère Germaine, on the quay of the seaside resort during the filming. Three years later, Brigitte Bardot would break through worldwide with the film ‘Et Dieu créa la femme’ and from that moment on, the epic centre of her appearance was in Saint Tropez, where she is immortalized with a gilded statue in a central square.

The exhibition also includes two rooms with posters and busts when BB was proclaimed Marianne, the symbol of France, by Alain Gourdon and, above all, a beautiful series of photographs by the Swiss photographer Léonard de Raemy from the 1960s, in which she is captured as a relaxed sex symbol. Yet her smile, her eyes and her long, blonde hair remain fascinating, even when she plays the guitar or shares a bed with Jane Birkin.

“Each photograph on display here tells a story, testifying to the evolution of a woman who confidently navigated between the roles she played and the public image she cultivated. The images show her alternately bursting with joy, introspective, often natural, unprepared, and always imbued with that aura that continues to fascinate generations,” according to Laurence Lucchesi.

The exhibition is on display at Chapelle Saint-Elme until May 26.