Five ways that Jeanne Moreau mastered her own take on French chic

Kelvin Reese
August 1, 2017

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. An assistant to her agent confirmed the death but would not provide details.

Moreau, who died yesterday after 89 abundantly full years, was one of those special people who put her talent into her work and her genius into her life; on some special occasions, these became intertwined.

The "Chimes at Midnight" actress is survived by her son, Jerome Richard. It is Jeanne Moreau, who with his 60-year career and handsome collaborations with Jacques Demy and François Truffaut has made a lasting mark on the French cinema. After the company's great success with films by Bergman, Fellini and Truffaut, we began picking up more foreign-language films, one of which was Moreau's first film as a writer-director, Lumiere. 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 married twice, first to director Jean-Louis Richard, then to director William Friedkin. Always the most important person on the screen, Moreau - though at home to comedy - traded in a Gallic seriousness that no trivial Anglophone could match.

Often flitting between popular and art-house films, Moreau appeared in a wide variety of worldwide films including, Viva Maria! alongside Brigitte Bardot and George Hamilton, The Yellow Rolls Royce, Frankenheimer's The Train alongside Burt Lancaster and Luc Besson's Nikita. But Jeanne was different, and a copy of the New York Times was the start of it all.

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Outspoken and politically active, Moreau starred in more than 100 films, recorded albums and worked well into her 80s.

"I interrupted her career", Moreau once joked in an interview, according to Yahoo!. She was a stalwart figure of French New Wave cinema and her supporters are understandably devastated.

"It's very important that women make films", she'd said with typical intelligence and directness. In 1998 she was the subject of a tribute at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, though the Oscar was the rare statue that eluded her during a career that spanned over six decades. In 1997, she directed a third film, Solstice. I could feel it. Merde!

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