The Bikini in Cinema
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Design by Igor Kubik
Experiences

The Bikini in Cinema

A Visual History
Małgorzata Zacharska
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time 5 minutes

On 5th July 2019, the garment known as the bikini celebrated its 73rd birthday. Therefore, we are celebrating its most important appearances in Polish and international film.

On 5th July 2019, the bikini became 73 years old. The history of how it was invented is rather complex and goes all the way back to the 4th century BC. At the Sicilian Villa del Casale on the Piazza Armerina, it’s still possible to find ancient mosaics featuring women in scanty, two-piece bathing costumes, remarkably similar to the contemporary bathing suits that we know as the ‘bikini’.

The garment was named by a French engineer called Louis Réard, and resulted from his rivalry with another Frenchman who was a costume and fashion designer. In 1946, Jacques Heim presented the two-part Atom, which he advertised

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A Cinema of Frustration in Impatient Times
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László Nemes on the set of the film “Sunset”. Image courtesy of Gutek Film.
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A Cinema of Frustration in Impatient Times

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We first heard of László Nemes in 2015 after his spectacular debut Son of Saul at the Cannes Film Festival. It was a magnificent year for European cinema, with the biggest names in the industry running for the Palme d’Or – including Paolo Sorrentino, Yorgos Lanthimos and Jacques Audiard.

Nemes did not win in Cannes, but still brought home four other awards, including the Jury Prize. Meanwhile, Son of Saul continued its triumphant march around global film festivals, ending with the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The staggeringly long list of awards for the Hungarian director’s debut is the best proof that sometimes taking creative risks can pay off. It took Nemes a long time to collect resources for this challenging and extremely demanding project, based on a very personal story. Many members of the director’s family lost their lives in concentration camps during the Holocaust, and all they left behind were a few yellowed photographs. Son of Saul was conceived from the deep need to tell the story of the Holocaust in a different way than others have, such as Steven Spielberg. The film was made out of frustration with the simplifications and shortcuts taken by Hollywood productions when trying to show an unimaginable tragedy from a place of comfortable distance. Sunset – the latest feature production by Nemes – is just as personal as his first film, this time telling a story based on his grandmother’s childhood memories of the time between the two world wars, steeped in the vibrant atmosphere of fin de siècle Europe.

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