Jean-Paul Belmondo, the bruised face of French New Wave cinema, dies at 88 – .

Jean-Paul Belmondo, the bruised face of French New Wave cinema, dies at 88 – .

Written by Saskya Vandoorne, Xiaofei XuSana Noor Haq, CNN

Legendary French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo has died at the age of 88, his lawyer, Michel Godest, announced on Monday.

The cause of his death has not been disclosed.

Son of French sculptor Paul Belmondo and painter Sarah Rainaud-Richard, Belmondo was born into a family of artists in Neuilly-sur-Seine in 1933, reports Reuters.

A child with a passion for boxing, he finally turned to acting and was enrolled at the Paris Conservatory in 1952 after three attempts, according to Reuters.

A 1959 poster with Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg in “A bout de souffle” (aka “A bout de souffle”). Credit: PictureLux/The Hollywood Archive/Alamy Stock Photo

Despite his initial struggle, Belmondo continued to star in a series of blockbusters, including “The Professional”, “Ace of Aces” and “Le Magnifique”.

But he was best known for his groundbreaking performance as the dangerous but romantic criminal Michel in the 1960 film Breathless, where he worked with director Jean-Luc Godard and starred alongside American actress. Jean Seberg.

Belmondo quickly became a vanguard of “La Nouvelle Vague” or Nouvelle Vague – a French film movement of the 1950s and 1960s, where practitioners used experimental narrative and stylistic techniques to revolutionize the big screen.

The movement influenced the work of contemporary American directors, including Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese.

Many have paid tribute to Belmondo following the news of his death.

“All of France is sad, I am sad,” Godest said on CNN subsidiary BFMTV.

“It was wonderful but also terrible because I saw in him the man, a friend that so many people would have liked to have and at the same time there was a monster in him, a terrible character,” added Godest.

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that France had lost “a national treasure”.


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