French actor Jean Paul Belmondo, icon of the Nouvelle Vague, dies

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PARIS, 6 Sep. (dpa / EP) –

French actor Jean Paul Belmondo, one of the icons of the Nouvelle Vague, has died at the age of 88, according to several French media.

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Belmondo, who fascinated the greatest masters of French filmmaking –Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Sautet, François Truffaut or Philippe de Broca– has made film history with films such as’ At the end of the getaway ‘or’ The man from Rio ‘.

To his credit he has more than 80 films for posterity, the image of a gentleman with a wide smile and the face of a wrinkled boxer.

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With ‘At the End of the Getaway’ in 1959, Jean-Luc Godard turned 26-year-old Belmondo into a star overnight. The Nouvelle Vague (New Wave) film movement, which successfully turned its back on commercial cinema, especially around the 1960s, set new cinematic standards with an unconventional narrative structure.

The film became a masterpiece and Belmondo became the figurehead for film rebels, including Truffaut, Claude Chabrol, and Eric Rohmer.

Claude Sautet, Jean-Pierre Melville, François Truffaut or Jacques Deray were the next filmmakers to work with him. His eternal rival was Alain Delon, although he never reached the comic talent of Belmondo. Belmondo’s last film was ‘Un homme et son chien’ (‘A man and his dog’), by Francis Huster, in 2009.

When the cinema turned its back on him, he returned to his beginnings, the theater. In 1991 he finally bought his own theater in Paris, making a childhood dream come true. Belmondo has appeared in more than 40 theatrical roles.

In November 1999 he suffered a heart attack in the city of Brest, in western France, and a heart attack in August 2001 in Corsica. His four children come from relationships with dancers Elodie Constantin and Nathalie Tardivel. His relationship with Barbara Gandolfi, who was about 40 years his junior, ended in 2012 after four years of separation.

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