Legendary actor Jean-Paul Belmondo bares it all !
During the Monte-Carlo Film Festival of Comedy that closed this weekend at the Grimaldi Forum, President and founder Ezio Greggio, arranged for the public screening premiere of the documentary Belmondo by Belmondo co-produced by Regis Mardon and the actor’s son Paul Belmondo, who came to the Theatre des Varietes this past Saturday, March 5, accompanied by is charming wife Luana Tenca, who he married in 1990. The film had been unveiled in the Principality at a private projection last December and was now presented to the Monegasque public.
Legendary French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, better known as Bebel, bares it all and responds candidly to the questions of his son Paul Belmondo not only about his filming career spanning 50 years, but also his private life. This is the first film of Paul Belmondo, who had been a racing driver for Formula-3, F-3000 and then F-1, and who came to the limelight during a brief romantic liaison with Princess Stephanie of Monaco in the 1980’s.
Jean-Paul Belmondo, now 82 years old, returns to the settings of a fantastic career, with his son Paul at the wheel, going through prominent cities that marked his prolific filming career, while responding to his son’s questions at each stop. In many segments of the movie Jean-Paul is accompanied by his dear longtime friend actor Charles Gerard.
The hero of French cinema spent the summer holidays with the family at the Monte-Carlo Beach Hotel. And Gerard Charles, a longtime friend for over 50 years, still remembers it, he said: “Jean-Paul was a real daredevil, and broke everything, cars, boats.” And he added: ” I remember a time where we were in the water the middle of nowhere Jean-Paul had broken our boat, we had to push him to shore.” Between emotions and nostalgia, Paul Belmondo traces the life of his father.
When dealing with aspects of his father’s private life, Paul Belmondo confessed: “The son that I am disappeared in front of the author of this film. My father’s passion for Ursula Andress in the 1960’s, destroyed our family, but it is an important episode in his life.” The Bond girl had a romance that lasted seven years, and they meet forty years after for the documentary.
In revisiting his films, he meets the directors, the stars and his father’s friends, so we see famous actors and directors making an appearance in the documentary alongside members of the Belmondo family, some as themselves and others from archive footage: Richard Anconina, Ursula Andress, Brigitte Bardot, Guy Bedos, Claude Brasseur, Philippe de Broca, Claudia Cardinale, Vittorio de Sica, Alain Delon Anthony Delon, Jean Gabin, Jean-Luc Godard, Sophia Loren, Jean Rochefort and many more.
The film could be divided in major sections, starting with the Anatomy of Success, shot in Rio de Janeiro, beginning with success as a common denominator; Art Early Days, shot in Paris, where we discover the rebellious Belmondo; Families, shot in Rome, looking at how the story unfolded, his family ties and the women he loved; the Golden Age, shot in the Riviera, where Belmondo spent decades filming masterpieces, going from A Monkey in Winter with Jean Gabin, to Borsalino in which he paired up with heartthrob Alain Delon; to culminate with the Epilogue, about the man and his art, shot again in Paris, retelling the actor’s last years in Theatre doing famous plays like Kean and Cyrano.
Belmondo by Belmondo is revealing and very entertaining. It is a work of love by an adoring son. Bravo!
Jean Paul Belmondo, who did all the dangerous movie stunts himself, has said: “Being afraid is the worst sin there is.”