Rarely seen, Le Repos du Guerrier directed by Roger Vadim stars Brigitte Bardot as Geneviève, a Parisian bourgeois who travels to Dijon to resolve an outstanding inheritance.
When she mistakenly opens the door of another room in the hotel, she finds Robert Hossein at death’s door on the bed having attempted suicide. Geneviève nevertheless falls for the manic Hossein, takes him to her apartment in Paris, beginning a destructive, masochistic and corrupt relationship with her new partner.
Based on a novel by Christiane Rochforte this is not the usual sixties Bardot vehicle, although there are some seductive scenes as you can see from the clip below. The Hossein character is dark and self-destructive and throughout it’s the well-heeled Bardot who seems to chase after him in spite of his annoying, often alcohol fuelled behavior.
Really you wonder why Bardot’s character doesn’t just slap the self obsessive Hossein and throw him out the door. You wonder too why a woman as alluring as Bardot would fall for the often graceless, and clearly charmless, Hossein. This is one of the central flaws of the movie as in the end you are left thinking that Bardot’s character deserves everything she gets from her poor choice of partner.
For English speaking viewers the real killer for this movie is the appearance of James Robertson Justice – Sir Lancelot Spratt himself from the Doctor series of films – as one of Hossein’s bohemian friends which further undermines any credibility in the central drama.
However this movie is worth seeing for Bardot’s performance alone as, in spite of the dramatic flaws, she sometimes sizzles and continually captivates with her Parisian vulnerability.
That’s if you can find it of course.