Vadim Roger

Vadim Roger

French film director, screenwriter, actor and producer.
Date of Birth: 26.01.1928
Country: France

Biography of Vadim Roje

Vadim Roje was a French film director, screenwriter, actor, and producer. He created the most enchanting films of his time, featuring the most charming debutantes. Roje was a true Pygmalion: he had the ability to see beauty first, and beauty was also captivated by him. Brigitte Bardot was his first wife; Catherine Deneuve became the mother of his first son; he was married to Jane Fonda... It's worth mentioning "and others" because he had four official marriages and four children from different women. Thus, Roje's life became his best film with an enviable selection of actresses and a sad but inevitable ending... He passed away in February, earlier this year. Unfortunately, Vadim Roje will no longer see the first buds of a new spring, something he cherished so much! He was called the "seducer of the best virgins of world cinema." Yes, it was true; he loved beauty that had not yet been discovered by anyone else, instantly recognizing innocence and considering it his duty to bring it to perfection. He had an eye for future sex symbols. He seduced them and then cast them in the leading roles of his next film. And the "best virgins of cinema," who later became superstars and national symbols, would never speak ill of him. Isn't that the justification for someone called Don Juan? And Vadim Roje enjoyed (male coquetry and vanity!) presenting himself as a devil-tempter. Even the title of his memoirs was arrogantly masculine: "Memories of a Devil". He was photographed for the cover, wearing a black tight sweater, with his black eyebrows, black eyes... He looked similar, really similar! Lucifer! But was Vadim a devil? Rather, he was more of a Don Juan. Our own, with Russian blood. And the Pushkin-style Don Juan is a poet. "By loving you, I love virtue," Vadim could have said, for example, to 17-year-old Catherine, not yet Deneuve, still Dorléac. Or about some unknown youth friend: "Ines! - the dark-eyed one? Oh, I remember." Motives of lust and sadness always remained in his soul and attracted him creatively. Otherwise, why would he constantly make films about seducers! He was interested in the Marquis de Sade, Valmont from "Dangerous Liaisons," and Casanova. Vadim was a seducer from God (it sounds blasphemous, but nothing can be done), not from the devil. He knew how to love. In those moments, lasting for years, he knew how to be faithful, how to be chaste (well, "almost," as he honestly specifies in his memoirs). "Brigitte and I," he reminisced, "remained faithful to each other throughout our years of marriage. It was different back then, not like now." The grumblings of an old Casanova. He loved this old-fashioned poetry: parents, prohibitions, the chastity of the bride, mutual faithfulness, love until death or separation... But when he learned to be cynical, or, if you will, put on such a mask, he realized that his new image sold much better than the image of a poet-idol. Even Jane Fonda in America was informed that director Vadim was a confirmed cynic. So, at the first attempt (innocent, as a director!) to bridge the gap, Vadim met the most severe resistance. An official note, delivered through an agent, stated: "Miss Fonda does not see the possibility of collaborating with Mr. Vadim." This happened after they had a personal acquaintance, when she was already charmed, intoxicated, in love... He knew how to intoxicate. It came from sincerity, from the heat of emotions. Vadim seduced with the same strength that he himself was seduced. It was the same with young Brigitte Bardot (15 years old), Catherine Dorléac-Deneuve (17 years old), and Annette Stroyberg (19 years old). It was the same every time Vadim was in love. Brigitte Bardot, or Madame Plémiannikov, in 1952, reporter Vadim Plémiannikov was very young, handsome, and not at all wealthy. (He would retain only the last quality his whole life, even in the most successful periods of his career, managing not to save anything for a rainy day: he gave everything to his friends, wives, and his children's mothers.) Brigitte was already an aspiring starlet: she had been photographed twice for the cover of Elle magazine. Although the first time was almost accidental (she was handing something to someone on that cover). But the second time was intentional. Photographers noticed her: a cute brunette personifying joy. Vadim happened to come across that cover one day. He found a way to meet Brigitte (after all, he was a journalist), and they fell in love at first sight. Brigitte lived with her parents in the 16th arrondissement. According to the social-geographic map of Paris, this meant she was a girl from a well-to-do bourgeois family. And who was Vadim Plémiannikov?! Vadim married her after Brigitte turned 18. It took three years of convincing her parents. And finally, the wedding! A decent bourgeois marriage consisting of visiting the city hall (civil registration), having dinner at the bride's parents' house, and a religious ceremony the next day. Vadim obliged his buddies from Paris Match to come in tuxedos - and they came, with cameras, in tuxedos, resembling a flock of subdued penguins. He met them downstairs, by the elevator, and vividly described the dinner at Brigitte's parents' home on the move. It went like this. After dinner, Brigitte headed to her room, and Vadim followed her. But her father stopped him: "Nothing like that will happen in my house until you are officially married." The newlyweds chorused: but we are already married! "Nothing can happen between you here in my house until the religious ceremony," her father concluded. (Their love had already found refuge in bachelor studios, but naturally, her father had no idea.) "So," Vadim concluded, "yesterday I married the prettiest girl in Paris and... spent the first wedding night alone, on the couch in the living room." She called him Va-Va, and he called her Bri-Bri. These two loved each other very much. Their photograph together is proof of that. "Vadim is my family," Brigitte Bardot would say over forty years after their marriage ended. "He is... my blood brother." They became famous, they celebrated each other, and they parted ways. Their collaboration did not end within the temporary framework of a tender and passionate marriage. Together, they made five more films. But they would never have children together: B.B. was the only woman who did not want to have children with Vadim. Perhaps that's why she felt so lost, so lonely at his funeral in Saint-Tropez. The other widows of Vadim at least had heirs. But she had nothing, only memories and old films. The beautiful Viking Annette Stroyberg arrived in Paris from Denmark with a firm intention - to find a husband and start acting in movies. It should be noted that at that time (the early 60s), the covers of fashion magazines were filled with beauties from Northern Europe. Their sun-kissed faces framed by platinum locks were in high demand, and "beautiful Vikings" claimed the best bachelors. In this case, it was Vadim who became the object of pursuit. In order to win him over (by the fourth season since B.B. had left her Pygmalion), 19-year-old Annette specifically came to Saint-Tropez, a quiet fishing port at the time. It is worth mentioning that she arrived there with her only evening dress in a suitcase, which she later sold to buy Vadim a birthday present. Romantic, isn't it? That's how much she loved him. And the bachelor surrendered. They settled in a charming studio near the Champs-Élysées. Vadim really started to cast Annette in his films. And the first conflicts immediately arose. The thing was, Vadim valued professionalism and the desire to work. Annette, on the other hand, did not want to attend any acting courses and had no intention of working on her French pronunciation... She had acquired a husband-director and hoped that it would solve everything. Until a certain point, it did. His skill helped conceal her acting imperfections. He cast her in the film "And Satan Calls the Turns". However, the critics did not die from excitement. Annette did not possess obvious acting talent. Only work and experience could save her. Vadim remembered, "She couldn't stand it if someone else on the screen was shown longer than her... Little Stroyberg, who not long ago washed dishes in a roadside cafe to have pocket money... finally lost her mind for good." Despite the birth of their daughter Natalie, whom Vadim loved passionately, life with Annette became hellish. She would leave Vadim, then return in tears, leave again, and then return, assuring that it was forever, and then disappear again after a week. The only constant in the chaos of their separations was the blue tea set. "When she left me... there were times when she returned, remembering a forgotten passport or a fur coat... But she never took the blue set with her. Its absence on our shelf meant she had left me for her lover again." And the elegiac conclusion was entirely in the spirit of an aging Don Juan. "Perhaps now (with another man), Annette has learned not to leave him midway through dinner."
The Resilient Angel Catherine
During the period of endless "blue set" travels, Vadim meets Catherine Dorléac. She was a dark-haired beauty with a bob, simple blouses, and insisted that she did not want to be an actress like her sister Françoise, who was making her way to stardom in the "Nouvelle Vague." "On the evening I met her, she was dancing the Charleston, which was back in fashion. She enjoyed laughing and going through life sometimes laughing, sometimes frowning." The familiar director scheme started again: fall in love - cast! He cast young Catherine in a film about the Marquis de Sade. Then, their relationship unfolded into a classic story of an experienced director seducing a young debutante. In general, Catherine became pregnant. They planned to get married as soon as Vadim finalized his divorce from Stroyberg. "Her parents were always discussing some kitchen set with me, which should be returned in case of death or divorce. I signed some papers without looking, fully convinced that no one had signed anything like this since Balzac's time."
They wanted to celebrate the wedding in Tahiti. But before that, Vadim and Catherine had to fly to New York to resolve some matters with their producer. It was there, unexpectedly, that a fateful phone call rang in their hotel room. Vadim answered the phone. It was Annette. "If you marry this girl, I will take Natalie away."
The news that the wedding was postponed indefinitely was met stoically by Catherine, without revealing her distress. "Catherine seemed to understand my position in this matter, but I suppose something changed in her from that day onwards." No wonder! For a 19-year-old girl to realize that there will be no wedding but the child is already here! A psychotherapist would say that a change in the life script, the life program, is evident, in other words, a soul trauma!
In the case of Catherine Deneuve, we will see that this event had serious consequences. Yes, she became a great French star, but she never wanted to be anyone's wife (the brief marriage to English photographer David Bailey doesn't count!). At the same time, she never felt any hatred towards Vadim. After giving birth, she found him older, more eccentric, and determined to do at least three things: break up with him, change her hair color, and move to a different apartment. "Today, Catherine Deneuve is wealthy, she loves and is loved. She has achieved her place in the kingdom of stars. This is called a 'fairy tale,' isn't it?" Oh no, Vadim! It's called "strong character." In the way Vadim spoke about Catherine, one could read the jealousy of a man whose woman turned out to be stronger than he thought, and at some point even stronger than himself. "She became authoritative," "she became uncompromising," "she became unforgiving." And simply, after being treated that way, Catherine Dorléac became Catherine Deneuve. She particularly excelled in roles as cold women with inner turmoil. Not to mention the role of the seduced and abandoned in "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" - a film that brought her fame, a film not by Vadim, but here he could definitely say that the role was successful thanks to him.
Thirty-five years later, at Vadim's funeral, Catherine Deneuve wept (all the photographers were captivated by her red handkerchief). Although perhaps she was crying more for Catherine Dorléac than for the departed lover who had failed to take her to Tahiti.
Jane, or Goodbye America!
Jane Fonda was an exception in every way. By the time she met Vadim, she was already famous (acting in Hollywood), wealthy (after all, she was Henry Fonda's daughter), and she was "already" 26 years old. "Jane, California, white sand, ocean, sun..." Perhaps this was the happiest chapter in Vadim's life. He always loved to repeat that he was absolutely happy with Jane throughout their eight-year marriage, that she had a wonderful character, a cheerful disposition, and that she could easily forgive his occasional mischief. Strong, radiant, sober, with a clear, good mind, and excellent self-discipline. They were good together. For this period, a line from "The Stone Guest" would be appropriate: "Only from that moment did I understand what the word 'happiness' means..." He made several films with Fonda in the lead role ("Circle of Love," "Barbarella") and was in awe of her professionalism.
"Our relationship, in physical and all other senses, seemed perfect. I loved her country, her family, her friends; she seemed to appreciate France and my friends. We both had a common curiosity about people and things, a taste for travel." In France, they bought a farm, and Jane, who did everything with passion and enthusiasm, decided to create a park there! ("Wouldn't it be better to buy a farm with a ready-made park?" Vadim timidly asked. "Where will I find a park with all the trees I want?" was Jane's response.) But these activities, including having a child, were clearly not enough for her self-realization. Jane sought to channel her energy outside of her family and the film industry. She became involved in activism: fighting for women's rights, civil rights for Black people, against the Vietnam War... This is one of the versions of why their marriage fell apart. "To be honest, I can't decide which is more upsetting: losing a woman because of some guitarist or because of a great idea?" Vadim would say when Jane left him for good.
Jane Fonda also flew to his funeral. Slim, in jeans, with big sunglasses. No, she didn't cry like Catherine and B.B., but she was very sad. However, she had other reasons for her sadness: her recent divorce from media mogul Ted Turner. And now she was alone again.
After the Ball
In 1990, at the Police Cinema Festival, Vadim met theater actress Marie-Christine Barrault, who would become his last love. He remained true to himself and first staged a play with Marie in the lead role, and then married her. In the town hall of Levallois-Perret, where Vadim and Marie-Christine's wedding ceremony took place, there was a bust of Brigitte Bardot, the French Marianne of the 60s. Thus, the circle of Vadim Roje's love stories closed. "And here I thought he would only marry incredibly beautiful women, you could say goddesses of beauty. I don't consider myself such," joked sweet Marie-Christine. His last marriage turned out to be the longest and perhaps the most peaceful. Marie-Christine and Vadim cared more about each other than about their joint creative projects. She took care of Vadim

Vadim Roger

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