Not being one to pay much attention to the lives of famous couples, I have to admit that one pairing I have a fondness for is French singer/actress Vanessa Paradis and American actor Johnny Depp. Their long-term relationship provides an example of stable partnership and parenthood that doesn’t conform to the nuptial norm, which is a rarity in the celebrity world (though, admittedly, less and less so). So what better pair could pull off a similarly unconventional French-American love affair between French writer and feminist Simone de Beauvoir and “macho” American writer Nelson Algren? I can think of none other.
Simone de Beauvoir’s groundbreaking work, The Second Sex (1949), laid the foundation for much of contemporary feminism, and her polyamorous relationship with existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, who she never married nor cohabitated with, is lauded by many as a brave act of rebellion on de Beauvoir’s part. (She also never had children and was rumored to take both male and female lovers.) Her relationship with Algren is said to be detailed in her semi-autobiographical novel, Les Mandarins, and it will be interesting to see how the complicated personal-political politics of one of the most well-known and respected twentieth century feminists will be pulled off on the silver screen.
Another thing this project has going for it is Swedish filmmaker Lasse Hallström, who worked with Depp on Chocolat and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? and will direct My American Lover, which is set to be released sometime next year. In the meantime, I guess I’ve got some French fiction to brush up on.
18 Comments Have Been Posted
Cat replied on
I love a good biopic, and I'd really like to see this when it comes out. I really need to get around to reading The Second Sex, since I really love what I've read of de Beauvoir so far.
And as to your initial question, I'm admittedly a non-native speaker but here are some good French awesome-words: Chouette! Merveilleux! Incroyable! Génial!
"[Depp and Paradis']
Lena replied on
"[Depp and Paradis'] long-term relationship provides an example of stable partnership and parenthood that doesn't conform to the nuptial norm, which is a rarity in the celebrity world (though, admittedly, less and less so)."
I absolutely agree that their relationship is very refreshing to see. However, I think it's worth mentioning that many international couples of the opposite-sex without celebrity status do not have the same "luxury" of being able to live/gain residency status in the other partner's country without being married. Of course, people can try to find ways to do this but it's much, much harder if not impossible in some situations. (Unfortunately, in countries without same-sex marriage or legal civil partnerships or who are part of a polyamorous relationship, some people don't even have this option.) I do wish it were otherwise and hope it changes one day.
Thanks for the head's up about the film, too.
more is better
Mandy Van Deven replied on
Thanks, Lena, for the additional context regarding the privilege to remain unmarried. You're very right to call attention to it and it makes me wonder about France's legal stance on partnership and immigration. Any ideas what it is?
Um not that Im disagreeing
Anonymous replied on
Um not that Im disagreeing with you or anything because it doesn't have much to do with THIS subject matter but you do know that johnny depp came out in support of releasing Roman Polanski right, and said he couldn't be a rapist because he was a dad, and also that he didn't get why they arrested him now? It doesnt have to do with his relationship but I thought it should come into play with regards to the whole "swooning" to him thing.
Link to Depp-on-Polanski article
Mandy Van Deven replied on
Thanks for the info, Anon. I hadn't heard about this, and it's definitely disconcerting. For folks who want to read what Depp said, here's a <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/johnny-de... to The Independent article</a>.
To clarify, the swooning is for the fact that a film on Simone de Beauvoir is in the works. I'm not given to celebrity crushes. ;)
thanx this so sweet, I feel
Anonymous replied on
thanx this so sweet, I feel glad I helped haha
Nathan Rodrigue... replied on
Johnny Depp´s new movie Alice in Wonderland, by Tim Burton should be awesome ! Hope it comes to DVD soon.
This is garbage
Tracy replied on
What is this garbage? If I wanted to read stuff like this I would go to US Weekly or Cosmopolitan magazine. But this is the same frivolous trite that is everywhere. Bitch magazine used to be about something. It used to provide modern feminist view points in a non preaching political and intelligent way. If I wanted to read about how “super cute” Johnny Depp and his wife were I would go to another garbage filled tabloid, there’s a time and place for that and it’s not now and it’s not at Bitch. I come to Bitch when I need some intellectualism but as of late I have come to your website and have been filled with the same shallow, bad writing, and frivolous crap that’s all over now. This blog, this ‘zine used to have depth. For you girls that want to giggle over how cute Johnny Depp is hit the mag rack and leave BITCH ALONE. We need Bitch, it is progressive and productive to society. We don’t need another celebrity blog or more idiotic ramblings on gossip or celebrity fame. THIS IS TRITE I WANT SUBSTANCE, GIVE US SUBSTANCE, WOMEN DEMAND SUBSTANCE! This is garbage. Bitch used to be alternative, anti consumer, and it would never have a pointless blurb about Johnny Depp and his wife. It wasn’t about celebrity it was about WOMEN in our society, just what it’s advertised as, “feminist response to pop culture” but it wasn’t another pop culture blog. BRING MY BITCH BACK, THE OLD BITCH, THAT WAS ABOUT SOMETHING!
To be fair...
RJ replied on
To be fair, this post does not translate to, "Johnny Depp is going to be in a movie about some dead lady, and, hey, do remember how cute he is? OMG!" or some similarly US Weekly-style blurb.
1. Simone de Beauvoir is a groundbreaking feminist author, so a film about her is a point of feminist interest (and excitement/fear, given Hollywood's penchant for turning potentially awesome topics into crappy movies). Furthermore, this is, as you note, a "feminist response to pop culture," so a blog post concerning a pop culture product about a feminist icon is, well, fitting.
2. The post discusses atypical relationships, comparing Johnny Depp/Vanessa Paradis's somewhat nonconventional relationship to Simone de Beauvoir's polyamorous and reportedly bisexual relationships. Given the heteronormative/heterosexist norms and restrictive relationship standards so rampant in our society, such discussion on a feminist blog is more than appropriate.
Lucille II replied on
Tracy, I wonder just what exactly it is that you think a blog that provides a feminist response to pop culture should be providing here. Why should a blurb on an upcoming film about Simone de Beauvoir be off limits? Because it isn't providing you with enough "intellectualism"?
I don't know about the other people here, but I for one turn to Bitch for information on things like this film, and I don't see US Weekly or Cosmopolitan giving much attention to the project or its potential impact, let alone fostering a discussion about non-normative partnerships.
It's too bad that you find Bitch to be filled with "the same shallow, bad writing, and frivolous crap that’s all over now," but frankly, I call bullshit. The topics covered here can't be found on the newsstand tabloids. Period. That's why I love Bitch, and I'm sure I'm not alone in wanting a feminist response to pop culture that is allowed to be fun sometimes without people hating all over it.
one woman's trash is...
Mandy Van Deven replied on
Given the lack of commentary on the actor's appeal or lack thereof, the equally mentioned Paradis, and the focus on Simone de Beauvoir, how'd my excitement at an in-progress biopic about a groundbreaking feminist and polyamorist turn into a trite post about my supposed lust for Johnny Depp? Admittedly, this isn't the most in-depth social commentary I've published on this blog, but it's a bit hyperbolic to call it drivel. Situating social commentary in pop culture is what <i>Bitch</i> is all about. Perhaps you'd prefer <a href="http://bitchmagazine.org/post/bound-by-raw-survival">this</a>, <a href="http://bitchmagazine.org/post/on-the-map-about-those-swiss-minarets">thi..., <a href="http://bitchmagazine.org/post/of-queers-and-cowboys">this, or <a href="http://bitchmagazine.org/post/do-do-gooder-celebs-actually-do-good">this.... There's nothing wrong with having a preference for things that lean more toward academia; it's just that not every piece I write is going to be on that tip.
Otherwise, RJ and Lucille II's comments hit the nail on the head.
I used to be a Johnny Depp
Anonymous, too replied on
I used to be a Johnny Depp fan, but as other posters pointed out, he defended Roman Polanski, which really makes me sick to my stomach. I can't even look at him any more, let alone swoon, and I'm sure as hell not going to spend money to see any more of his films.
Depp perpetrates rape culture
Carmen replied on
I too am disappointed to see Johnny Depp on the front page of this website. I understand completely how important it is that a movie is being made about Simone de Beauvoir, but because of casting, I will not support this particular version or see it. It's quite ironic that a movie about the woman who said that one of the important things for a woman to do is to claim her own body is going to be starring a man who wonders, WHY NOW, about a man finally having to serve a sentence for raping a child.
To be fair, the victim
Whitney replied on
To be fair, the victim herself said that she wants the charges to be dropped.
I think we need to respect her wishes.
For anyone's reference:
I personally think it's childish to boycott an actor for having an opinion. Should we boycott Samantha Geimer because she publicly forgave Polanski and asked LA prosecutors to drop the case? If you want to boycott something, boycott Polanski's movies, not Johnny Depp. He has nothing to do with this.
Anonymous replied on
Frankly, the victim is apparently suffering from a crippling lack of perspective. That, or she is completely delusional. I have absolutely no plans for respecting her wishes since she obviously has no idea of the consequences of such actions as they relate to future victims and the necessary prosecution of their perpetrators. It's laughable to ask anyone to forgive and dismiss a child rapist. It is our duty as adults to protect our children. In case you've forgotten Whitney, here's a reminder: Geimer testified that Polanski gave her a combination of champagne and quaaludes, a sedative drug and muscle relaxant, and despite repeated protests and being asked to stop, he performed oral sex, intercourse and sodomy upon her. 30 years from now, this will still appall me. Geimer wants the issue "put to rest" and that is understandable but she's undoubtedly at the point where she wants it over at any cost and that is unacceptable for the sake of expediency.
Now, as for Johnny Depp. He HAS something to do with this because he opened his idiotic mouth and joined the fray. Awwww, it's 30 years later!? So much time has passed? He's a nice guy now, really! Sorry, Johnny--you're defending a CHILD RAPIST. Do you think if Roman wanted to drug and screw HIS daughter, he'd think that was ok? Even 30 years later? I think not. Do we have any proof that Polanski never repeated this crime with any other child? No, we don't. I have no forgiveness in my heart for this horrible man or anyone that defends him.
What really crushes my soul is the list of women that also defend Polanski: Tilda Swinton, Emma Thompson (:::cry), Debra Winger, Whoopi Goldberg, Monica Belluci...
Oh really now? The victim is
Whitney replied on
Oh really now? The victim is delusional? Whatever happened to respecting her wishes? She's the victim, not you. It's not up to you to decide how she should feel about it or react to it. There's no correct way to handle this.
"I have absolutely no plans for respecting her wishes since she obviously has no idea of the consequences of such actions as they relate to future victims and the necessary prosecution of their perpetrators."
So then what you're saying is that she's basically a total moron. Way to victim-bash!
"It's laughable to ask anyone to forgive and dismiss a child rapist."
The victim HERSELF has publicly forgiven him. So then I guess that's laughable? The only person that he hurt was her, and she's forgiven him. It sounds like you're out for blood.
Listen, I've been a victim of sexual abuse, too, I was sexually abused at 14 at church camp by a peer who was my age. I was also sexually abused in college by a friend.
"In case you've forgotten Whitney, here's a reminder: Geimer testified that Polanski gave her a combination of champagne and quaaludes, a sedative drug and muscle relaxant, and despite repeated protests and being asked to stop, he performed oral sex, intercourse and sodomy upon her."
I know that. And if she wants the charges dropped, her wishes should be respected.
"Geimer wants the issue "put to rest" and that is understandable but she's undoubtedly at the point where she wants it over at any cost and that is unacceptable for the sake of expediency."
Yes because you know her so well.
There's no reason for you to attack anyone except for the perpetrator himself, yet you insist on attacking everyone involved, including the victim herself. Have some respect.
I think their point was that it was an isolated incident (have any other victims come forward) and they don't deem him a danger to society. The reason why we have laws and prisons is to protect citizens from people who break the law, and from people who are deemed a threat to society by the laws they break. I think it's simply that those people who are "defending" him don't consider him a risk to society.
People are able to change, you know. Some people are one-time offenders, you know.
As a lover of de Beauvoir, I
Whitney replied on
As a lover of de Beauvoir, I am excited for this project. I read The Mandarins when I was in college and i loved it. It's about time she gets this kind of exposure, and I know that Depp will bring younger women to see it, who will no doubt be inspired and read her books.
Sneaking into Johnny's Boudoir
Tart and Soul replied on
If there was ever a Hollywood bedroom I'd love to be in, it's Johnny and Vanessa's. So glad to have the chance!
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