March 24 - May 5, 2023
The American Cinematheque presents a complete feature film retrospective on the actress-turned- director Jeanne Moreau
One of the most highly regarded actors in film history, Jeanne Moreau was born in Paris in 1928, the daughter of a French restauranteur and an English dancer at the Folies Bergère. As the story goes, she realized her calling during a performance Jean Anouilh’s Antigone at the age of 16, promptly dropping out of high school to study at the Conservatoire de Paris. After a successful stint as the star of the Comédie-Française, Moreau would find herself in high demand by an emerging generation of filmmakers that would change society’s understanding of cinema for good and elevate her name to the legendary status it occupies today. In the 1970s, Moreau turned to filmmaking herself with a trio of works celebrating women’s stories, both fictional and real: the semi-autobiographical LUMIÈRE, coming of age drama L’ADOLESCENTE, and TV documentary LILLIAN GISH. Jeanne Moreau is remembered as the stunning ingénue of 20th century art cinema, a champion of women’s rights and representation on screen, and, in the words of Orson Welles, “the greatest actress in the world.”
Jeanne Moreau’s association with the French New Wave began with Louis Malle’s 1958 debut, ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS, shortly followed by THE LOVERS (1959). Though her breakout hit came in 1962 with François Truffaut’s JULES AND JIM, she also maintained decades-long partnerships with major filmmakers such as Michelangelo Antonioni (LA NOTTE), Orson Welles (CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT, THE TRIAL), Jacques Demy (BAY OF ANGELS), Tony Richardson (MADEMOISELLE), Luis Buñuel (DAIRY OF A CHAMBERMAID), Rainer Werner Fassbinder (QUERELLE), and many others.
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