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15 January 2013

Marlène Jobert

Fresh and funny actress Marlène Jobert (1940) was a star of the French cinema in the 1960’s and 1970’s. The actress known for her beautiful, freckled face and red, short hair also worked as an author. She is the mother of film star Eva Green.

Marlène Jobert
French postcard by E.D.U.G., Paris, no. 518. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Godard
Marlène Jobert was born in Algiers, French Algeria in 1940. She was the daughter of Andrée Azoulay and M. Jobert, in the French Air Force. She is from a Pied-Noir background and of Jewish descent. She came to France when aged 8. Jobert studied fine arts and acting at the Conservatoire de Dijon, an later attended acting classes at the Conservatoire in Paris. In the theatre, she appeared with Yves Montand in Des clowns par milliers (1963, Thousand Clowns) under the direction of Raymond Rouleau. Her film debut was a small part in Le Voleur/The Thief of Paris (1966, Louis Malle) featuring Jean-Paul Belmondo *. Her first notable film part was Elisabeth in Masculin féminin: 15 faits précis/Male-female (1966, Jean-Luc Godard) . This late classic of the Nouvelle vague represents for many people 1960’s France and Paris. Jean-Pierre Léaud stars as Paul, a romantic young idealist and wannabe-author who chases Yé-yé girl Madeleine (Chantal Goya). The two soon become romantically involved and begin a ménage à quatre with Madeleine's two roommates (Catherine-Isabelle Duport and Marlène Jobert). The camera probes them in vérité-style interviews about love, love-making, and politics. Masculin féminin contains references to such pop culture icons and political figures as Charles de Gaulle, James Bond and Bob Dylan, and follows Godard's non-linear filmmaking techniques and narratives. However, Hal Erickson at AllMovie writes: “Though Godard's free-form style is usually opposed to linear storytelling, Masculine Feminine has solid literary roots, having been inspired by two Guy de Maupassant stories.” In the following years, Marlène Jobert played in the enjoyable comedies Alexandre le Bienheureux/Very Happy Alexander (1967, Yves Robert) starring Philippe Noiret, and Faut pas prendre les enfants du Bon Dieu pour des canards sauvages/Don’t take God's children for wild ducks (1968, Michel Audiard) with Françoise Rosay. Then she had her breakthrough opposite Charles Bronson in the French-Italian mystery thriller Le Passager de la pluie/Rider on the Rain (1969, René Clément). This excellent nailbiter about a lonely, beautiful woman who murders her mysterious rapist won in Italy the Special David of the David di Donatello Awards in 1970 and in the US the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1971. Hal Erickson: “The plot piles one twist upon another, deliriously confounding the audience at every turn.”

Marlène Jobert
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin.

Marlène Jobert
French postcard by Imp. Rivier, presented by La Roue Tourne, L'Association du Spectacle, Paris.

Marlène Jobert
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin.

One Of The Most Perfect Pieces Of Cinema
In the 1970’s, Marlène Jobert co-starred with American stars such as Kirk Douglas in the comedy To Catch a Spy (1971, Dick Clement) and Orson Welles and Anthony Perkins in the mystery La Décade prodigieuse/Ten Days' Wonder (1971, Claude Chabrol), based on a novel by Ellery Queen. That year she also appeared in the comedy Les Mariés de l'an II/The Married Couple of the Year Two (1971, Jean-Paul Rappeneau) with Jean-Paul Belmondo, and the sentimental drama Nous ne vieillirons pas ensemble/Break-Up (1972, Maurice Pialat). The latter was entered into the 1972 Cannes Film Festival where her co-star Jean Yanne won the award for Best Actor. James Travers at Films de France: “As in most of Pialat’s better work, the film chronicles a volatile relationship between two seemingly incompatible characters, in an emotionally charged and painfully honest piece of drama. Jean Yanne is seldom as impressive as he is in this film, giving what could fairly be rated as his best screen performance. The standard of acting is high generally, with a memorable contribution from Marlène Jobert, allowing Pialat to create one of the most perfect pieces of cinema in his impressive and sadly underrated oeuvre.” Creator of her own production company MJ, she actively participated in the development of the two films she played in in 1974: Juliette et Juliette/Juliet and Juliet (1974, Rémo Forlani) with Annie Girardot, and Pas si méchant que ça/The Wonderful Crook (1975, Claude Goretta) with Gérard Dépardieu. Prolific until the late 1970’s, she starred in films like Le Bon et les méchants/The Good Guys and the Bad Guys (1976, Claude Lelouch), Va voir maman, papa travaille/Your Turn, My Turn (1978, François Leterrier), and La Guerre des polices/The Police War (1979, Robin Davis) with Claude Brasseur. In 1980 she became the mother of the twins Eva Gaëlle and Joy. From then on, she did fewer film appearances. In the melodrama L'Amour nu/Naked Love (1981, Yannick Bellon), she played a woman suffering from cancer. Her last film was the comedy Les Cigognes n'en font qu'à leur tête/Storks do as their head (1988, Didier Camin). However, she was regularly seen on television, like in the series Avocat d'office/Lawyer Office (1994-1996). Besides acting, she has been the author and/or narrator of (mainly children's) audio books. She also has written a series of books on classical music, e.g. of Mozart, Chopin, and Tchaikovsky. In 2007, she was awarded a César D'Honneur (Honorary César) for her outstanding career achievement. Marlène Jobert is married to Swedish dentist Walter Green, the brother of film actress Marika Green. Their daughter Eva Green (1980) is also a film star, best known as Bond girl in Casino Royale (2006, Martin Campbell). Their other daughter Joy Green is in business school.

* Some sources claim Masculin féminin as the film debut of Marlène Jobert.


French trailer for Masculin féminin: 15 faits précis/Male-female (1966). Source: Films7Art (YouTube).


French trailer for Le Passager de la pluie/Rider on the Rain (1969). Source: Querelle59 (YouTube).


French trailer for Nous ne vieillirons pas ensemble/Break-Up (1972). Source: Fransefilms (YouTube).

Sources: Hal Erickson (AllMovie), James Travers (Films de France), John Jameson (IMDb), AlloCiné (French), Wikipedia (English and French) and IMDb.

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