Movie inspiration of the week – Bonjour Tristesse (1958)

Costume Designer: Hubert de Givenchy


When Jean Seberg is on screen you can’t look at anything else. Her every movement is graceful, each glance is precise. The shape of her head, her silhouette, her walk, everything is perfect; this kind of sex appeal hasn’t been seen on the screen.

François Truffaut

Bonjour 4

Contrary to the common practice in this part of the world, I did not go on holiday in August and this is, most obviously, taking its toll on me. I don’t seem to be able to get the French Riviera out of my mind. This week life is back to the black and white tones of reality and Summer has, if not technically, emotionally come to an end.

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 I should probably be writing on Otto Preminger’s talents and “virtuosity with CinemaScope framing and three-strip Technicolor” and their use in establishing a clear difference in tone and mood between the wintering, sophisticated Paris present and the sun drenched,  carefree past of Mediterranean summers. 10

BOM DIA TRISTEZA Bonjour tristesse 1958 ~ Jean Seberg ~ 025

Better yet, I should be writing about how Givenchy’s costumes are essential to understand the characters and the changes they go through, specially in the case of Cecile (Jean Seberg). As Barbara Tfank noted, “Givenchy is the customer designer, which is so extraordinary. When you see Jean in the film’s opening,  it’s the most perfect example of fashion and film”.

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But, as with Le Mépris, this a film I feel a strong emotional connection to. This is the film responsible for almost 10 years of wearing a pixie cut. Cecile inspired my visit to Monaco and my self styled movie fantasies while strolling inside the Monte Carlo Casino almost by myself. Said self styling was, fortunately, enough to convince the Maitre d’ that I was not a regular tourist.


In its bittersweetness, it keeps reminding me that Summer inevitably comes to an end.

References and photos

Fashion and Film at the TCM Film Festival: Getting Audrey Hepburn, Kim Novak & Jean Seberg in Character

Well, Hello Bonjour Tristesse

Sunday Matinee, Bonjour Tristesse

Ferdy on Films

Films I Love #3: Bonjour Tristesse

Seduced by Bonjour Tristesse

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