Viva Maria!

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"The world will never forget the two heroines who charged into battle undaunted, unafraid, and… undressed!"
  • NR
  • 1965
  • 1 hr 59 min
  • 6.3  (3,943)

Viva Maria! is a French-Italian comedy-adventure film, released in 1965, directed by Louis Malle, and starring the legendary beauty Brigitte Bardot and the iconic actress Jeanne Moreau, as well as the young and charming George Hamilton. The movie is set in early 20th-century Latin America, where two women, Maria I and Maria II, accidentally end up being recruited by a tribe of revolutionary guerrillas who are fighting against the oppressive government of a fictional state called San Miguel. Maria I is a French cabaret dancer who has been touring with her father's show throughout the continent, while Maria II is an Irish explosives expert who arrives in San Miguel to find her father, who has gone missing while working on a mining project. Despite their different backgrounds and personalities, the two women become close friends, and together they embark on a wild and daring adventure that will change their lives forever.

From the very beginning, Viva Maria! sets itself apart from typical Hollywood action-adventure flicks by being a tongue-in-cheek, self-referential parody of the genre. The two Marias are constantly aware that they are in a movie, and they often break the fourth wall by addressing the audience directly. They use their femininity as a weapon to manipulate the men around them, and they always manage to get out of dangerous situations unscathed thanks to their wit, their charm, and their sheer luck.

The film is also a political satire that takes aim at the imperialism and exploitation that were rampant in Latin America during the early 1900s. The guerrillas that the Marias join are inspired by real-life revolutionary figures such as Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa, and the film portrays them as brave and noble warriors who are fighting for the rights of the oppressed peasants and workers. However, the film also points out the absurdity and hypocrisy of the revolutionary rhetoric, as the leaders of the movement end up being just as corrupt and self-serving as the government they want to overthrow.

Of course, the main attraction of Viva Maria! is the irresistible chemistry between Bardot and Moreau. Bardot, who was already a sex symbol and a fashion icon by the time the movie was made, is at her most charming and witty as Maria I. She radiates a playful energy and a sense of mischief that make her character stand out from the typical damsels in distress of the genre. Moreau, on the other hand, plays against type as Maria II, a tough and independent woman who is not afraid to use violence when necessary. Moreau brings a world-weary, sardonic humor to her role that complements Bardot's effervescence perfectly.

The supporting cast is also worth mentioning. Hamilton, playing the role of a revolutionary leader who falls for Maria I, brings a youthful, dashing energy to the movie. He is a perfect foil to the older and wiser Moreau and provides some of the film's most memorable comic moments. Also, the movie features several talented Mexican actors, such as Gregorio Acosta and Carlos López Moctezuma, who add authenticity to the portrayal of the Latin American setting.

Finally, it would be incomplete not to mention the stunning cinematography and production design of Viva Maria! The movie was filmed on location in Mexico, and the landscapes, costumes, and sets are a feast for the eyes. From the dusty villages of the countryside to the opulent palaces of the government officials, the film captures the richness and diversity of Latin American culture, and it does so with a vibrant and colorful visual language that matches the playfulness of the script.

In conclusion, Viva Maria! is a classic of French cinema that still holds up as a delightful and subversive adventure-comedy. It is a film that celebrates the power of friendship, the strength of women, and the absurdity of revolutionary myths. And, most of all, it is a film that showcases the talent and the charisma of the two Marias, Bardot and Moreau, who remain iconic figures of international cinema to this day.

Viva Maria!
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 59 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.3  (3,943)