French New Wave cinema’s Belmondo and his most memorable movies
From the cool thug roving the Champs-Elysees to a globetrotting action man and swashbuckling adventurer, here are some of the most striking roles played by Jean-Paul Belmondo, who has died aged 88.
In the Parisian love story that launched his career and the French New Wave internationally, Belmondo plays a petty crook who meets a grim end in an alley after falling for a young American girl.
‘Leon Morin, Priest’ (1961)
Donning a cassock and collar in Jean-Pierre Melville’s World War II film noir, Belmondo shows gravitas and subtle sexual tension as a French priest in the grips of a moral dilemma during the Occupation.
Belmondo joins Jean Rochefort and Claudia Cardinale for Philippe de Broca’s swashbuckling 18th-century romp about a gang of robbers that delighted audiences.
‘Pierrot le fou’ (1964)
With his blue-painted face and yellow explosives tied to his body, Belmondo stages a memorable art-house suicide in Jean-Luc Godard’s experimental road trip. It charts a family man’s disenchantment with modern life that prompts him to take off to the Mediterranean with the babysitter.
‘That Man From Rio’ (1964)
Excelling again as the action hero in this fast-paced Oscar-nominated James Bond spoof also by de Broca, Belmondo’s jaunt to Brazil to see his fiancee turns into a mad-cap adventure to save her from kidnappers.
‘Is Paris Burning?’ (1966)
His only major role in an English-language film, Belmondo joins a host of Hollywood stars including Kirk Douglas and Orson Welles for this elaborate wartime epic about the liberation of Paris.
‘Itinerary of a Lost Child’ (1988)
Belmondo won a Cesar (a French Oscar) for his portrayal of a foundling raised in a circus who loses his moral compass when he becomes a businessman in Claude Lelouch’s saga on modern values. JB
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