Meet the Original Film Heroines: The Godard Girls

Long before "Wonder Woman," female protagonists have rocked the international movie landscape.

December 28, 2017 10:37 am
French Actress Marlene Jobert. (Henri Bureau/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)
French Actress Marlene Jobert. (Henri Bureau/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

Though the world is once again being rocked by heroines — like Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman or any of the leading ladies in more than half the shows on television right now — the international world has been dominated by female protagonists long before this, including the Godard Girls. The Godard Girls, including Marlene Jobert, Anna Karina, Jean Seberg, and more, were all stars in French director Jean-Luc Godard’s films. Their characters may not have been fighting crime, but they made up for it in emotional superiority to their male counterparts. Their style also had a global impact for years to come.

What set a Jean-Luc Godard actress apart is that the style and fashion was not what made the character — that came after. The girls’ onscreen presence was powerful, strong, and according to Godard (and the world), necessary.  He told Rolling Stone in 1969, “I don’t think you should feel about a film. You should feel about a woman, not a movie. You can’t kiss a movie.”

Check out some of the leading ladies through the gallery below, inspired by Refinery 29.

 Jane Birkin

Actress Jane Birkin (Photo by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
Corbis via Getty Images
English actress Jane Birkin goes out on a pedalo during the 28th Cannes International Film Festival on May 1974. (AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images

Brigitte Bardot

French actress Brigitte Bardot as Jill in MGM’s A Very Private Affair, directed by Louis Malle.
Bettmann Archive
Brigitte Bardot waiting for her car at the Beverly Hills Hotel. (Hal Mathewson/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
NY Daily News via Getty Images

Marlene Jobert

French Actress Marlene Jobert. (Henri Bureau/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)
British actor Patrick Mower, with French actress Marlene Jobert, in a scene from the film “Catch Me A Spy”, being filmed at Kensington Parish Church, London, May 3, 1971. (AP Photo/Staff/Dear).

Giorgia Moll

Giorgia Moll, 1963. (KEYSTONE-FRANCE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images
Italian actress Giorgia Moll sitting on a terrace. Rome, April 1961 (Mondadori Portfolio by Getty Images)
Mondadori via Getty Images

Anna Karina

Danish actress Anna Karina in the Luxembourg Gardens. (Jean Marie Leroy/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)
Sygma via Getty Images
The actress Anna Karina at the Cannes Film Festival On May 5, 1966, standing before the poster of her Film La Religieuse, by Jacques Rivette. (Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

Jean Seberg

French actress Jean Seberg in the 1957 film “Bonjour Tristesse”, by the Austrian-born director Otto Preminger. (Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
Corbis via Getty Images
Publicity handout of actress Jean Seberg (1938-1979). Head and shoulders photograph of the actress lying down with her head resting on one hand and a twig of leaves in the other.
Bettmann Archive

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