Jeans… On The Big Screen

The fabric called jeans was used as early as the 16th century by the Genoese navy to equip its ships with sails as well as to clothe its sailors. The city of Genoa is indeed famous for this cotton and linen canvas, very similar to corduroy. The Merchant Republic of Genoa exported this fabric throughout Europe, especially to England where it was used in sailors' trousers but also ship sails or tents where it was further exported to Nîmes. There weavers such as the André family tried to reproduce this fabric, without success. In the 17th century, they developed another fabric, a wool and silk cloth used in serge armor that became known as denim. This beige canvas, praised for its strength was used as a working garment for Cevenol shepherds and peasants. Later it was exported to Genoa and tinted in indigo blue to make it a cheap, resistant garment, less messy than beige and easy to maintain.

It is not hard to imagine why this material became so popular.

Today it is an integrated part of our society present everywhere in our social sphere.

One of the first real appearances of a jeans at the cinema was in 1945 in "Leave Her to Heaven" staring Gene Tierney who has a certain charm in jeans while hoeing the ground, a little good girl that inspires confidence.

But it was especially in western cinema that jeans found a real statement, for example thanks to John Ford who as director made the equally tenacious Maureen O'Hara wear a gritty denim shirt in "A Quiet Man " from '52, a film that won the Oscar for best-director.

We also do not forget the fascination of certain male stars loved by entire generations who made this garment a symbol of rebellion and protest, such as Marlon Brando in '53 on the set of "The Wild One" or James Dean in "Rebel Without a Cause" of '55.

James Dean in "Rebel Without a Cause"

In the 1950s, fashion magazines such as Harpers' Bazaar or Vogue offered the ladies the first models clad in jeans for leisure or home use, and here you will find the most classic actresses of all, Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor wearing them. : the first in the finale of "The Rear Window" directed by the master of the thrill, Alfred Hitchcock, and in the romantic comedy of '54 "The Last Time I Saw Paris".

In '61 it is the turn of Audrey Hepburn admired from the window by George Peppard in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" or while in jeans and towel in her hair she preforms the guitar accompaniment the tender "Moon River".

In 1966, however, the sensual Françoise Dorléac, directed by a very young Roman Polanski, while wearing only a pair of jeans while kissing the young spaniard in "Cul-De-Sac" on the beach.

In addition, it is in this film that we have the debut in the cinema of the beautiful Jacqueline Bisset, who in '73, directed by Truffaut, wore a denim shirt stared together with Truffaut and Valentina Cortese in "Day for Night" which created one of the icon images of film. This unique film by an equally unique French filmmaker earned him an Oscar for best foreign film.

The same year Brigitte Bardot, now tired of the fame of being an object of sexual desire starred in one of her last films "Don Juan, or If Don Juan Were a Woman" in which she weaves a fiery love affair with the young and shrewd Jane Birkin who wore of jeans from head to toe.

The film was directed by Roger Vadim.

In 1978 Jane Fonda played in the western "Comes a Horseman" wearing denim pants and jersey shirt, a decidedly different look for an actress who has given cinema resurgence of past glance.

In 1979, Sally Field's brilliant and intense portrayal of Norma Rae, a young woman fighting for workers' rights, ended this period. Very much in tune with her times, she found fertile ground and an audience ready to love a mother in blue jeans, so much so that she won an Oscar for the lead and also the award at Cannes for best female performance.

The 80s saw many of the most respected actresses dressing up in jeans as a basic garment in their wardrobe.

As in the case of Susan Sarandon in "The Hunger" in '83, which combined with jeans and a masculine persona arose from a coffin as a vampire, a perfect contrast with the ethereal and evil femininity of Catherine Deneuve. Deneuve also played a man in "A Slightly Pregnant Man."

Or the jeans of young Jennifer Beals who stars as a steel worker by day and exoctic dancer by night who dreams of becoming a ballerina in "Flash Dance", a film which marked a generation. A youthful reality that even the great Greek director Theodoros Angelopoulos, testified in "The Beekeeper" in '86, with an intense Marcello Mastroianni, in love with a hitchhiker in blue jeans.

The 90s opened with demi Moore's androgynous beauty, in jeans, in the arms of lost love Patrick Swayze, in one of the most moving films in the history of cinema: "Ghost."

In '91, Thelma and Louise, staring Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis with direction from Ridley Scott, became an inspiration to all women.

In 1992 the talented young Cyrill Collard, before dying of Aids, directed his first and only feature film based on his own car biography Wild Nights with an intense Romane Bohringer, winner that year of the Cesar Award for Best Debuting Actress.

The following year it was the first film in Kieslowski's color trilogy, Blue, with an intense and introspective Juliette Binoche, a mother who survived the car accident that killed her husband and daughter, and who did not even say that she saw the title, often dressed in blue jeans, a sign of strength and self-determination.

These will also be the best years for Julia Roberts' career, which became increasingly successful thanks to titles such as the Pelican Brief in '93 co-staring along side Denzel Washington and ending with Erin Brocovich in 2000. Many proclaim proclaim her to be among the best actresses of all time.

Of course, Roberts wears jeans in all these films.

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