Jeanne Moreau: French screen icon and star of Jules et Jim, dies at 89

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Reuters

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Moreau once said “physical beauty is a disgrace”

Actress Jeanne Moreau, one of French cinema’s biggest stars of the last 60 years, has died at the age of 89.

Moreau is probably best known for her role in Francois Truffaut’s 1962 new wave film Jules et Jim.

She won a number of awards including the best actress prize at Cannes for Moderato Cantabile in 1960.

She also worked with Orson Welles on several films and won the Bafta Award for best foreign actress for Viva Maria! in 1967.

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AFP

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Moreau appeared in Joseph Losey’s Eva in 1961

Moreau was found dead at her home in Paris, the district’s mayor told the AFP news agency.

Paying tribute, French President Emmanuel Macron said Moreau had “embodied cinema” and was a free spirit who “always rebelled against the established order”.


Analysis – Nick James, editor of Sight & Sound magazine

Of the three most iconic French actresses of her generation – herself, Catherine Deneuve and Brigitte Bardot – Moreau was the one with the most on-screen authority. Post-war French cinema is unthinkable without her.

So many key directors owe important, often breakthrough successes to her – Louis Malle’s Lift to the Scaffold and The Lovers, Francois Truffaut’s Jules et Jim and Jacques Demy’s Bay of Angels, for instance.

Her famous sensual presence was backed up with formidable timing and technique, so much so that every major director wanted to work with her – Orson Welles, Michelangelo Antonioni, Joseph Losey and Luis Bunuel among them.

She was, perhaps, the female…

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