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Film / Viva Maria!

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Viva Maria! is a 1965 French comedy film directed by Louis Malle, starring Brigitte Bardot and Jeanne Moreau.

On the eve of The Mexican Revolution, Maria (Bardot) has just lost her Irish terrorist father to one of his own explosions. She wanders aimlessly until she stumbles upon a hybrid circus/vaudeville troupe, where she meets another woman named Maria (Moreau). They agree to team up and form a theatrical duo. Some time later, they meet a revolutionary named Flores (George Hamilton), who's fighting to take down the dictatorial government of the (fictional) country of San Miguel. Moreau!Maria falls in love with him, but he's shot not long after. She promises to carry on his revolution, with the help of a reluctant Bardot!Maria.


Provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Bardot!Maria. Moreau!Maria tries her hand at this but fails, so she decides she'll be the one to do the talking.
  • Ax-Crazy: Bardot!Maria sure looks giddy when she's blowing stuff up.
  • Banana Republic: San Miguel.
  • Bifauxnen: Bardot!Maria at the beginning of the movie. Yes, they tried to pass Brigitte Bardot for a man.
  • Bitter Sweet Ending: The revolution ends up toppling the dictatorship, but Moreau!Maria still can't get over Flores.
  • Bound and Gagged: Both Marias are captured by monks at the climax and are subjected to (ineffectual) torture.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Bardot!Maria is half-French, half-Irish.
  • Cultured Badass: Moreau!Maria is a revolutionary who knows her Shakespeare, Moliere, etc.
  • Dead Star Walking: Flores. George Hamilton had the biggest billing after Bardot and Moreau.
  • Downer Beginning: It begins with Bardot!Maria's father dying and Moreau!Maria's original partner killing herself over a heartbreak.
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  • Driven to Suicide: Moreau!Maria's original partner shoots herself after being jilted by her lover, an act witnessed by Bardot!Maria at a distance (she sees the distraught woman run into her trailer, then hears the fatal shot a few seconds later). This ends up with Bardot!Maria, who has had no previous theatrical experience, being drafted as Moreau!Maria's new partner.
  • The Edwardian Era: Takes place in 1907.
  • Excited Show Title!: As you see, the title has an exclamation point. Makes sense since it's a cheer.
  • Fighting Irish: Bardot!Maria. A terrorist all her life.
  • A God Am I: The Church mistakenly thinks the Marias are acting like this when they hear news of the people praying to them.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: The Dragon has a scar on his cheek.
  • Insistent Terminology: Bardot!Maria wants you to know that it's NOT 'Mary', it's 'Marie', because she isn't bloody British.
  • Irish Explosives Expert: Bardot!Maria had an Irish terrorist father, so she learned a lot about how to explode things and puts those skills to good use in the rebellion.
  • Kneel Before Frodo: A mayor kneels down to tie his shoelaces. The people around him kneel, thinking he's paying homage to the Marias. When he gets back up, he looks around him befuddled before kneeling back down.
  • Knife-Throwing Act: The boy tied to the board is harmed during this routine because Bardot!Maria distracts the man controlling the spotlight, leaving the knife-thrower in the dark and hitting the boy in the arm. This is Played for Laughs.
  • The Lad-ette: Bardot!Maria.
  • Lock-and-Load Montage: The villagers guearing up for the revolution. One had hidden a pistol in a baby's blanket.
  • Mad Bomber: Bardot!Maria.
  • Mood Whiplash: Despite being considered a comedy, the movie shifts extremely in its moods. It opens with two people dying and Bardot!Maria being basically homeless, then it jumps to hijincks as the Marias do their first act together, then Moreau!Maria meets Flores, falls in love with him, he dies, and it's a tragedy, then slapstick with the rebellion, and so on.
  • Not with the Safety on, You Won't: Moreau!Maria really doesn't know guns.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: During their first performance after they team up, the two Marias aren't having much luck pleasing the audience. Then they have a series of accidents which results in their stripping/being stripped down to their tight-laced corsets and black stockings, and they become an instant hit throughout Central America, with the striptease becoming the focus of their act.
  • Our Founder: The Marias blow up The Generalissimo's statue. He's displeased.
  • Pietà Plagiarism: The strong guy carrying Flores in his arms after he dies.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The troupe-turned-freedom fighters consist of people from all across Europe with quirky personalities and hobbies, working with San Miguel villagers.
  • Really Gets Around: Bardot!Maria. She keeps tabs on the names of the guys she has slept with.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Lustful and trigger-happy Bardot!Maria versus monogamous and pondered Moreau!Maria.
  • Resigned to the Call: Bardot!Maria was fine with keeping up their tour, but Moreau!Maria really wants to avenge Flores, and she just can't leave her alone.
  • Rousing Speech: Moreau!Maria to the villagers after Flores dies.
  • Running Gag: The boy who tries to sneak a peek at the strip shows and gets slapped by his mother for his troubles.
  • Sarcastic Clapping: No clapping, but Bardot!Maria sarcastically congratulates Moreau!Maria for her Rousing Speech, then informs her of what a fool she's being.
  • Stocking Filler: In the striptease scene referred to in the Of Corsets Sexy entry, Bardot!Maria and Moreau!Maria are wearing black silk stockings. After they zoom to stardom and make striptease key to their act, they wear a rainbow variety of stockings color-coded to the rest of their lingerie during their performances.
  • Stuff Blowing Up
  • Stunned Silence: When the Marias do their impromptu first strip-tease, the orchestra is so distracted by it that they stop playing. The silence is amusingly interrupted by a guy coughing.
  • They Fight Corrupt Governments
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: The Marias. Illustrated by the Moreau one being interested in the latest developments in fashion, and the Bardot one in those of guns.
  • Triang Relations: Flores and Moreau!Maria were definitely into each other, and it's implied that Bardot!Maria also wanted something with him. So a type 4.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The Dragon has one when the Marias get the better of him in the "Lady in White" scene.
  • Vine Swing: Bardot!Maria does this in the first confrontation with the government's men.
  • Visual Pun: The Spanish word "caballero" would mean "gentleman" in the context it's given, but it can also mean "horse rider".
  • You Can Leave Your Hat On: The Marias accidentally invent strip-tease and it becomes the main attraction of their performance.