Bel Bel Belmondo

By Sherry Goldberg

Viva La France! C’est si bon! Jean Paul Belmondo! What all this mean is “Long Live France, It Is Good . . .” Jean Paul Belmondo! For several years, my husband and I would only go to see foreign films. They played in one theater and every time the movie would change, we would go to see it. Some of the best films that I remember from that era are Mediterraneo, Antonia’s Line, Queen Margo and Like Water For Chocolate. The Americans have produced films like this; mostly they are independent films and one of the best was Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle. I recently had the great joy of seeing Jean Paul Belmondo and Catherine Deneuve in Mississippi Mermaid directed by Francois Truffaut.

It was while watching this movie that I was reminded of all of the wonderful foreign films that I have seen throughout the years. What foreign films have, that American films lack many times, is substance and language. American films are full of special effects, excitement, nudity, and sis boom ba. Foul language has become standard fare. Not that I am criticizing, but oh, to watch a foreign film and hear people talking about feelings, hopes, failings, joy and despair brought back so many memories and made me want to see these films again.

Perhaps with the internet and so many LOL, and OMG, some of our appreciation of language and communication has disappeared and we need to bring it back. Take a look at the poster from Mississippi Mermaid. It is not only sensual and exciting, it makes you want to watch the movie.

Jean Paul Belmondo has been a major French star for many decades. Even as an older man, his charisma jumps off the screen. He is basically every man but better. You have only to see him in a movie, to want to see more of him. He reminds me of Jack Lemmon because Jack Lemmon represented every man, but Belmondo crossed into the sensuality and darkness area that Jack Lemmon rarely, if ever, crossed despite his remarkable talent.

Catherine Deneuve was the Femme Fatale in this film, and she was absolutely beautiful. One can understand how her career has spanned so many decades. Catherine Deneuve also performed with both Jack Lemmon in April Fools, and Jean Paul Belmondo.

So the next time you are looking for a good film and you don’t mind subtitles, check out some foreign films. You may find that you are opening a door to a new and exotic adventure. While I’m on the subject, I must say that I am loving subtitles more and more these days.