Jean-Paul Belmondo (April 9, 1933- September 6, 2021)
In 1965, when I was eighteen years old at Cambridge University, the Arts Cinema near the Market Square was my favorite place. That year I saw two films by Jean-Luc Godard starring Jean-Paul Belmondo, Breathless, with Jean Seberg, and Pierrot le Fou, with Anna Karina. Belmondo instantly became, for me, the very epitome of cool. He was irresistibly attractive and played men of few words and occasional violent action: the opposite of how I saw myself. He was the person I’d like to have been if I hadn't been who I was. His beaten-up deadpan face and long loose-limbed body were perfectly suited for Godard’s murderous farces, those tragicomedies which seemed to capture the mood of that decade and hold up surprisingly well in this decade, also tragicomic, also murderous.
I don’t really wish him to rest in peace. I wish him an eternity of driving in fast cars with beautiful women and a gun in his lap, being pursued by gangsters. That’s where he belongs: in movie paradise, forever.