Ac­tress rode French New Wave cinema to star­dom in ‘Jules and Jim’

Austin American-Statesman - - MORE OF TODAY'S TOP NEWS - By An­gela Charl­ton

French ac­tress Jeanne Moreau, the smokyvoiced femme fa­tale of the French New Wave who starred in Fran­cois Truf­faut’s love tri­an­gle film “Jules and Jim” and worked with many other ac­claimed di­rec­tors dur­ing a decades-long ca­reer, has died at 89.

Out­spo­ken, provoca­tive and act­ing well into her 80s, Moreau was among France’s most-rec­og­nized per­form­ers. Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron cel­e­brated Moreau for go­ing beyond ear­lier roles as a screen siren to em­brace other gen­res, star­ring in come­dies and ac­tion films.

“That was her free­dom ... al­ways re­bel­lious against the es­tab­lished or­der,” Macron said in a state­ment. “(She had) a spark in her eye that de­fied rev­er­ence and was an in­vi­ta­tion to in­so­lence, to lib­erty, to this whirlpool of life that she loved so much. And that she made us love.”

The pres­i­dent’s of­fice and Moreau’s agent an­nounced her death Mon­day with­out pro­vid­ing a cause.

Start­ing in the early 1960s, Moreau was the most prom­i­nent ac­tress of the French New Wave, with her brood­ing, down­turned mouth and dis­tinc­tive blend of sen­su­al­ity, in­tel­lect and re­solve. Her per­for­mance as Cather­ine in Truf­faut’s 1962 “Jules and Jim,” in which she played the love in­ter­est in a ground­break­ing ro­mance about two friends vy­ing for the same woman, was among her most well-known. She also worked with Truf­faut on the Hitch­cock-in­spired thriller “The Bride Wore Black,” in which she starred as a woman who tracks down the men who mur­dered her hus­band on her wed­ding day.

Other notable films in­cluded Luis Bunuel’s “Di­ary of a Cham­ber­maid,” Michelan­gelo An­to­nioni’s “La Notte” (“The Night”) and Or­son Welles’ “The Chimes at Mid­night,” in which she played the pros­ti­tute Doll Tearsheet in Welles’ adap­ta­tion of Shake­speare’s “Henry IV, Part II.” She later made a brief ap­pear­ance in the in­ter­na­tional hit “La Femme Nikita.”

She was born in Paris on Jan. 23, 1928, to a French father and English mother who danced at the FoliesBerg­ere. Moreau starred in her first fea­ture film in 1949 and last ap­peared in the 2015 com­edy “My Friends’ Tal­ent.”

Thanks to her strik­ing looks and im­pul­sive char­ac­ters, some called her the French Bette Davis. Moreau of­ten played women of ex­pe­ri­ence, and off screen she had so many lovers she once boasted to a re­porter she wanted to build a house and fill it with her fa­vorite men.

Moreau

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