Movie Stars: Belmondo, Jean-Paul, Iconic French Actor Honored

The 2016 Venice Film Fest is celebrating French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, who gained stardom during the French New Wave with Jean-Luc Godard’s “Breathless,” and director Jerzy Skolimowski, pioneer of the Polish New Wave, with Golden Lions for lifetime achievement.

Belmondo, whom the fest in a statement called “an icon of French and international cinema,” first attended Venice in 1965 with Godard’s couple-on-the-run pic “Pierrot le Fou,” which was booed there before going on to gain praise and becoming a groundbreaking classic.

Synonymous with French cool, Belmondo is also known for his roles in French gangster movies such as “The Big Risk” by Claude Sautet (1960) and “Borsalino” by Jaques Deray (1970). His other standout pictures comprise crimer “The Night Caller” by Henri Verneuil (1975), Hollywood-set romancer “Love is a Funny Thing” (1969), and drama “Itinerary of a Spoiled Child” (1988), both directed by Claude Lelouche.  He played the French Legionaire in 1967 Bond pic “Casino Royale.”

Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera praised Belmondo’s “fascinating face, irresistible charm and extraordinary versatility.”