Genre: Comedy / Adventure
Director: Louis Malle
Starring: Brigitte Bardot, Jeanne Moreau, George Hamilton
Language: French, English
Duration: 119 min.
The former Irish terrorist, Maria II, joins the vaudeville act of the French singer, Maria I, in Central America in 1907. During their first performance on stage they accidentally invent the strip tease and become local stars.
Viva Maria! is a film directed by Louis Malle, co-written with screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière. It won the Grand Prix du Cinéma Français Award in 1965. It's a riotous send up of epic adventure films that couldn't be any more different from his previous effort the brilliant but somber The Fire Within.
Set somewhere in Central America in the early 20th Century, it brings together two of the most beautiful actresses of all time, Brigitte Bardot and Jeanne Moreau (in her fourth collaboration with Malle), who light up the screen as two girls, both named Maria. The first the daughter of an Irish anarchist on the run, and the second a vaudeville singer in a traveling circus. They join together by chance and get involved crazy adventures including inventing the striptease and leading a revolution.
It's a frivolous and light film filled with silly sight gags and inventive camera tricks. Some perhaps not as effective as others, but there's some really great chemistry between the two leads. Bardot and Moreau play off each other so well that despite the shallow and towards the end, often tedious story, they make it a load of fun to watch. It's worth it just to see them commandeering a machine gun.
— Bonjour Tristesse