Nationality: French. Born: Paris, 23 January 1928. Education : Attended the Lycée Edgar Quinet, Paris; Conservatoire National d'Art Dramatique, Paris. Family: Married 1) the actor Jean-Louis Richard, 1949 (divorced), son: Jérôme; 2) the director William Friedkin, 1977 (divorced 1980). Career: 1948–52—member of the Comédie Française: debut in A Month in the Country ; 1948—film
Dernier amour (Stelli)
Meurtes ( Three Sinners ) (Pottier); Pigalle Sainte-Germain-des-Pres (Berthomieu)
L'Homme de ma vie (Lefranc)
Il est minuit, Docteur Schweitzer (Haguet)
Touchez pas au grisbi ( Grisbi ; Don't Touch the Loot ) (Jacques Becker) (as Josy); Dortoir des grandes ( Inside a Girls' Dormitory ) (Decoin); Julietta (Marc Allégret) (as Rosie Facibey); Les Intriguantes (Decoin); La Reine Margot (Dréville)
Secrets d'alcôve ( The Bed ; Il Letto ) (Decoin, Delannoy, Habib, and Franciolini) (as Mother)
Les Hommes en blanc ( The Doctors ) (Habib) (as Marianne); Gas-Oil (Grangier); M'sieur la caille (Pergament)
La Salaire du péché (de la Patellière); Jusqu-au dernier (Billon)
Les Louves ( Demoniaque ; The She Wolves ) (Saslavsky) (as Agnes); L'Etrange Mr. Steve (Vailly); Trois jours à vivre (Grangier); Echec au porteur (Grangier)
Ascenseur pour l'échafaud ( Elevator to the Gallows ; Frantic ) (Malle) (as Florence Carala); Le Dos au mur ( Back to the Wall ) (Molinaro); Les Amants ( The Lovers ) (Malle) (as Jeanne Tournier)
Les Liaisons dangereuses ( Dangerous Love Affairs ; Relazioni Pericolose ) (Vadim) (as Juliette de Merteuil); Le Dialogue des Carmélites (Bruckberger); Five Branded Women (Ritt) (as Ljuba); Les Quatre Cents Coups ( The 400 Blows ) (Truffaut) (as woman with dog)
Moderato Cantabile ( Seven Days . . . Seven Nights ) (Brook) (as Ann Desbaredes); La notte ( The Night ) (Antonioni) (as Lidia)
Une Femme est une femme ( A Woman Is a Woman ) (Godard) (as woman in bar)
Jules et Jim ( Jules and Jim ) (Truffaut) (as Catherine); Eva (Losey) (as Eva Olivier); La Baie des anges ( Bay of Angels ) (Demy) (as Jackie Demaistre); Le Feu follet ( The Fire Within ) (Malle) (as Jeanne)
The Victors (Foreman) (as Frenchwoman); Le Procès ( The Trial ) (Welles) (as Miss Burstner)
Peau de banane ( Banana Peel ) (Marcel Ophüls) (as Cathy); Le Journal d'une femme de chambre ( Diary of a Chambermaid ) (Buñuel) (as Celestine); Le Train ( The Train ) (Frankenheimer) (as Christine); The Yellow Rolls-Royce (Asquith) (as Marchioness Eloise of Frinton)
Viva Maria (Malle) (as Maria I); Mata Hari—Agent H-21 (Richard) (title role)
Mademoiselle ( Summer Fires ) (Richardson) (title role); Campanadas a Medianoche ( Chimes at Midnight ; Falstaff ) (Welles) (as Doll Tearsheet)
The Sailor from Gibraltar (Richardson) (as Anna); "Mademoiselle Mimi" ep. of Le Plus Vieux Métier du monde ( The Oldest Profession ) (de Broca) (as Mimi)
La Mariée etait en noir ( The Bride Wore Black ) (Truffaut) (as Julie Kohler); Great Catherine (Flemyng) (title role); Une Histoire immortelle ( The Immortal Story ) (Welles—for TV) (as Virginie Ducrot)
"When Love Dies" ep. of Le Petit théâtre de Jean Renoir ( The Little Theater of Jean Renoir ) (Renoir—for TV) (as the singer); Le Corps de Diane ( Diane's Body ) (Richard) (title role)
Monte Walsh (Fraker) (as Martine Bernard); Alex in Wonderland (Mazursky) (as herself); Comptes à rebours (Pigaut)
L'Humeur vagabonde (Luntz)
Chère Louise (de Broca); Nathalie Granger (Duras) (as other woman)
Joanna Francesca (Diegues) (title role); Je t'aime ( I Love You ) (Duceppe) (as Elisa Boussac); Les Valseuses ( Going Places ) (Blier) (as Jeanne Pirolle)
La Race des seigneurs (Granier-Deferre); Hu Man (Laperrousaz); Le Jardin qui bascule (Gilles)
Souvenirs d'en France ( French Provincial ) (Téchiné)
Mr. Klein (Losey) (as Florence); The Last Tycoon (Kazan) (as Didi)
Your Ticket Is No Longer Valid (Kaczender); Plein sud ( Heat of Desire ) (Beraud) (as Helene)
Lucien chez les barbares (Bernardi); Mille milliards de dollars (Berneuil)
La Truite ( The Trout ) (Losey) (as Lou); Querelle (Fassbinder) (as Lysiane); Autour de l'arbre (Dillon)
Der Bauer von Babylon ( The Wizard of Babylon ) (Schidor—doc)
Jean-Louis Barrault—Man of the Theatre (Balash—doc)
Le Plus Grande Musée (Lander—for TV); Vicious Circle (Ives—for TV)
Le Paltoquet (Deville) (as the Proprietress); Sauve-toi Lola (Drach) (as Marie-Aude); Le Tiroir secret (Molinaro—for TV); François Simon—La présence (Simon—doc); Last Seance (Wyndham-Davies—for TV)
Le Miraculé (Mocky) (as Sabine); Renoir, les portraits de la beauté (Shigenobu—doc); Hotel Terminus (Ophüls)
Calling the Shots (Cole and Dale—doc); La Nuit de l'ocean (Perset)
La Femme fardée (Pinheiro) (as La Doria)
La femme Nikita (Besson) (as Amande); Alberto Express (Joffé) (as the Baroness)
Suspended Step of the Stork ( To Meteoro Vima tou Pelargou ) (Angelopoulos) (as the wife); Anna Karamazoff ; The Architecture of Doom (as narrator); Bis ans Ende der Welt ( Until the End of the World ) (Wenders) (as Edith Farber)
The Lover ( L'Amant ) (Annaud) (as voice of Marguerite Duras); A Demain (as Tete); La Vielle qui marchait dans le mer ( The Old Lady Who Walked in the Sea ) (Heynemann) (as Lady M)
The Absence (Handke) (as wife of the old man); Map of the Human Heart ( La carte du tendre ) (Ward) (as Sister Banville); Je M'Appelle Victor ( My Name Is Victor ) (Jacques) (as Rose); The Summer House (Hussein) (as Lili); A Foreign Field (Sturridge—for TV) (as Angelique)
Les Cent et Une Nuits ( A Hundred and One Nights ) (Varda) (as Actor for a Day); Par dela les nuages (Antonioni and Wenders)
I Love You, I Love You Not (Hopkins) (as Nana); The Proprietor (Ismail Merchant) (as Adrienne Mark)
Amour et confusions ( Love & Confusions ) (Braoudé) (as Libra); Un amour de sorcière ( Witch Way Love ) (Manzor) (as Eglantine)
Ever After (Tennant) (as Grande Dame)
Il Manoscritto del principe (Andò) (as Lady Tomasi di Lampedusa); Balzac (Dayan) (as Charlotte-Laure)
Les Misérables (Dayan—for TV)
Lumière ( Light ) (+ sc, ro as Sarah Dedieu)
L'adolescente (+ co-sc)
Lillian Gish (co-d, + pr)
L'adolescente: d'apres un scenario de Henriette Jelinek et Jeanne Moreau, sur une idée originale de Jeanne Moreau , Paris, 1979.
Interview with M. Lindsay, in Cinema (Beverly Hills), no. 3, 1969.
Interview with E. Decaux and Bruno Villien, in Cinématographe (Paris), October 1982.
Interview with Michael Buckley, in Films in Review (New York), December 1983.
"Dialogue on Film: Jeanne Moreau," in American Film (New York), July/August 1984.
Interview with M. Chevrie and Serge Toubiana, in Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), February 1987.
Interview with M. Buruiana, in Séquences (Montreal), January 1989.
Interview with Molly Haskell and Andrea R. Vaucher, in Film Comment (New York), March/April 1990.
Interview with Françoise Audé and Michel Ciment and Michel Sineux, in Positif (Paris), May 1995.
Interview with Molly Haskell, in Interview , September 1996.
Erdelyi, Z. Agnes, Jeanne Moreau , Budapest, 1977.
Ruscart, Marc, editor, with Chantel Le Sauzel, Jeanne Moreau, une femme, une actrice , Paris, 1986.
Moireau, Jean-Claude, Jeanne Moreau , Paris, 1988.
Lauermann, Gabriele, Jeanne Moreau: ihre Filme, ihr Leben , Munich, 1989.
Delmar, Michael, Jeanne Moreau: portrait d'une femme , Paris, 1994.
Gray, Marianne, La Moreau: A Biography of Jeanne Moreau , London, 1996.
Stanbrook, Alan, "The Star They Couldn't Photograph," in Films and Filming (London), February 1963.
Duras, Marguerite, "The Affairs of Jeanne Moreau," in Show (Hollywood), March 1963.
Current Biography 1966 , New York, 1966.
Gilliatt, Penelope, "Jeanne Moreau," in The Movie Star , edited by Elisabeth Weis, New York, 1981.
Allen, D., "Moreau in London," in Sight and Sound (London), Summer 1982.
Ferguson, S., "Jeanne Moreau," in Ecran (Paris), vol. 16, no. 4/5, 1991.
Pascaud, Fabienne, "1994 par Jeanne Moreau," in Télérama (Paris), 28 December 1994.
"Hot Number: Jeanne Moreau," in Economist (London), 11 February 1995.
Vincendeau, Ginette, "The Indiscreet Charm of Jeanne Moreau," in Sight & Sound (London), December 1998.
* * *
Jeanne Moreau's canonization coincided with the assault of the French New Wave on stale professional craftsmanship and conventional movie stardom. Toiling in the theater and forgettable movies for more than a decade, Moreau was no spring chicken when Louis Malle helped mold her image as the femme d'un certain age. At a chronological age when American leading ladies were put out to the pasture of television sitcoms and summer stock, Moreau flourished not because she was refreshingly foreign but because, judged particularly against the backdrop of the rotting American studio system, she was unique. Not cast as disposable used goods like Piper Laurie in The Hustler or as a perennial spinster like Geraldine Page in Summer and Smoke , the no-longer fresh-faced Moreau of Jules and Jim and Frantic was a vitally sexy woman far from ready for consignment to a sexist junk heap. Defying bourgeois standards of propriety in Les Amants or deliberately bastardizing social intercourse in Les Liaisons dangereuses for her own pleasure, Moreau excited film buffs because she played by her own rules which were subject to change dictated by her will.
The charting of one's destiny was a luxury denied most of the actresses working in Hollywood films of this same period. Adopted as a patron saint by Truffaut, Malle, and Godard, and embraced by the intelligentsia as a love goddess who did not insult their IQs, Moreau followed the same course in her career as her characters did in her movies: wherever your heart leads you, never compromise once you reach the destination. By insisting on placing herself in the hands of the top filmmakers of the era, her career span exceeded those who thought they were being clever just by alternating a commercial hit with an Oscar-nominated drama. Not constrained by an image, she became a tabula rasa for innovators. If she was the embodiment of soul-sickness for Antonioni in his unsparing dissection of a marriage in La notte , she could also be perceived as the saucy spirit of plaisir for Demy's Bay of Angels or the brutally frank spokesperson for the superiority of the serving class in Buñuel's Diary of a Chambermaid . If her American vehicles reveal her at half-mast, that may have been the consequence of not aligning herself with major Yankee filmmakers (save for Welles, who was by this point an expatriate far out of the Hollywood mainstream). In Europe, however, even intriguing misfires by Britishers Richardson and Brook, only enhanced her legend as a femme fatale with the soul of a poet. All the diverse aspects of Moreau's personality mesh seamlessly in Truffaut's masterpiece, Jules and Jim , which could be called Moreau's Camille . Still exhilarating today, this gloriously untidy film presents Moreau's maddeningly modern Catherine as part unfettered child, part calculating vixen. Bewitching the viewers just as she captivates her lovers, Moreau crystallizes the movie's romantic tragedy for us by creating a mystery woman who never surrenders to either man the complete abandonment they desire.
Sometimes languidly sensual, sometimes raging with volcanic force, the Empress of Art Cinema capped off the first phase of her stardom with an enchanting rendition of a bittersweet song in Le Petit théâtre de Jean Renoir , a valedictory to him and a tribute to her loveliness which time seemed powerless to dim. As a character actress she continued to spark excitement, notably passing on the New Wave baton from Truffaut to Blier in Going Places and instructing a declassé assassin in social graces in La femme Nikita . Although space defeats anyone trying to summarize all of Moreau's acting benedictions, one can point out that as of 1993, her histrionic passion could still attain rapturous heights on the evidence of The Summer House . Fittingly for an actress who hitched her star to so many auteurs, she made a graceful transition to directing. Beginning with a contemplation of acting and friendship in the luminous Lumière , progressing through a lovely coming-of-age tale, L'adolescente , and culminating in an inspired documentary about Lillian Gish, Moreau proves that she is still the searching artist no matter where she positions herself on a movie set. The restless drive for self-expression which fueled some of her favorite moviemakers' greatest works now lives on in her own highly personal and adventurous efforts.