Jeanne Moreau 1928-2017

In the interview above from 2002, Charlie Rose talks to what he refers to as the “grande dame of French cinema”, Jeanne Moreau. Rose is often flattering her, but Moreau keeps pushing back. This is a no-nonsense lady. Today we lost her at the age of 89.

Born in Paris, Jeanne Moreau also spent the war in that city. After then end of it, she studied to be an actor and started out on stage in the 1940s. After becoming increasingly popular in films the following decade, Moreau started working with up-and-coming directors like Louis Malle; two of her best-remembered movies were his crime drama Elevator to the Gallows (1958) and The Lovers (1959).

One of her greatest hits was the romantic New Wave classic Jules and Jim (1962), which was directed by François Truffaut. Moreau built a great professional (and in some cases personal) relationship with some of the most famous directors ever  – Orson Welles, Michelangelo Antonioni, Luis Buñuel, Elia Kazan, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Wim Wenders… But thanks to her work with Malle and that part in Jules and Jim, she became a New Wave icon in particular to film lovers all over the world. In the scene above from Jules and Jim, Moreau sings a song called “Le tourbillon”. She was indeed also a singer and released several albums. 

Jeanne Moreau won a BAFTA for her work in Viva Maria! (1965) and a Best Actress award at the Cannes festival for Seven Days… Seven Nights (1960). Tributes continue to pour in today, including from President Emmanuel Macron, to this “grande dame”. I haven’t seen Jules and Jim since film school, but now is the time?

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