(AFP) – Godard, Resnais, Malle, Truffaut, Melville, Deray, Lelouch … In 50 years of career, Jean-Paul Belmondo has shot for the greatest directors. Here are six of his most significant roles:
– “Breathless” (1960) –
Alongside Jean Seberg, a young American student in Paris, Jean-Paul Belmondo, a mobster in love, radiates this first feature film by Jean-Luc Godard, which has become the manifesto of the New Wave and a cult film. This role propels him among the prominent French actors.
Decades later, the film has not aged a bit and still speaks to all generations with its modernity. We remember Belmondo’s reply, facing the camera: “If you don’t like the sea, if you don’t like the mountains, if you don’t like the city, fuck yourself”.
The actor will shoot another Godard film that has remained in posterity, “Pierrot le fou”.
– “The Man from Rio” (1964) –
Two years after the success of “Cartouche”, a swashbuckling film with Claudia Cardinale, he turns again with Philippe de Broca. Destination this time Brazil for a whirlwind film, at 200 per hour, with the sparkling Françoise Dorléac.
We follow with relish the incredible adventures of the second class soldier on leave Adrien Dufourquet who flies to the rescue of his fantastic fiancée Agnès to the heart of the Amazon rainforest.
– “The Mississippi Mermaid” (1969) –
After Françoise Dorléac, her sister Catherine Deneuve … François Truffaut brings together the two actors for the moment for a love story under the sun of Reunion.
After having made a marriage announcement, Louis Mahé had someone come to Julie Island, arrived by ocean liner. The beauty has definitely nothing to do with the one with whom he corresponded at length. But whatever, Paul is totally captivated by the young woman who turns out to be as mysterious as she is poisonous.
The film does not meet its audience when it is released but becomes a classic over time. With in particular this dialogue which has become cult: “When I look at you, it’s a suffering, you are so beautiful” – “Yesterday, you said that it was a joy” – “Yes, it is a joy and a suffering” .
– “Borsalino” (1970) –
This Jacques Deray film brings together for the first time on screen the two great male stars of French cinema, Jean-Paul Belmondo and Alain Delon. Great success with the public conquered by the adventures of these two thugs, Capella and Siffredi, who want to become the bosses of the Marseille underworld.
A success, however, marred by the quarrel, in the city, between the two men for a poster story that will end up in court and permanently affect the relations of these sacred monsters. We will not see Belmondo again alongside Delon in the cinema until 28 years later in Patrice Leconte’s “Une chance sur deux”.
– “L’As des as” (1982) –
In the 70s and 80s, great commercial successes and “stunt” films followed one another for Bebel. From “Brain” to “L’As des as”, via “Peur sur la ville” and “L” Animal “, he then played four times in the most viewed films of the year in France, equaling the Fernandel’s record and only surpassed by Louis de Funès. Under Gérard Oury, he is Jo Cavalier, a former pilot of the First World War who, 20 years later, became a boxing trainer and must go to Nazi Germany for the 1936 Olympics. A box office triumph with over 5 million admissions.
– “Itinerary of a spoiled child” (1988) –
Claude Lelouch offers Jean-Paul Belmondo his last very big role in the cinema, crowned with the César for best actor. He is Sam Lion, abandoned by his mother when he was still a baby, taken in by a fairground and become a ball child.
Converted into business after falling at the circus, he runs a thriving cleaning business but one fine morning decides to drop everything and travel the world under a false name. A year after the failure of “Solitaire”, the film is a great success in the cinema, with more than 3 million admissions.