French film legend Brigitte Bardot raised eyebrows Monday with a cheeky tribute after the death of a former co-star, saying that Michel Piccoli had "talent and humour and he liked my backside".
Piccoli, one of France's most admired actors, played opposite Bardot in "Contempt", Jean-Luc Godard's 1963 film, now regarded as a classic.
The movie became notorious for a nude scene near the beginning where Godard's camera lingered for more than three minutes on Bardot's naked body.
"Do you see my bottom in the mirror?" Bardot asks Piccoli, who played her scriptwriter husband, in an exchange that became one of the most famous in 1960s cinema, as she asked his opinion of various parts of her body.
"Do you find my buttocks pretty?"
"Yes, very," Piccolo answers.
Godard, who had helped kickstart the French New Wave with his masterpiece "Breathless" three years earlier, said that American producer Joe Levine had forced him to put in the scene.
The French director claimed that Levine -- who had made his name with "Godzilla, King of the Monsters!" -- was annoyed that he had to fork out five million francs to get Bardot into the picture, but wasn't getting what she was famous for -- nudity.
Many critics believe that Godard shot the scene through red, blue and natural filters to make it as unsexy as possible to thumb his nose at Levine.
"We acted together in 'Contempt' but always shared a great mutual esteem," Bardot told AFP after news of Piccoli's death from a stroke at 94 broke.
"The last rollers of the New Wave have taken him, leaving me alone on the beach," said the 85-year-old, who has lived as a near recluse for years in the south of France.
Piccoli was an arthouse icon, having worked for some of the greatest film directors ever, starring in a series of Luis Bunuel movies including "Belle de Jour" and "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie".
Bardot -- the polar opposite to Piccoli as a vocal supporter of France's far right -- caused outrage in 2018 by attacking the #MeToo movement saying, "I always found it charming when men told me that I was beautiful or I had a nice little backside."
© 2020 AFP