basic melancholy

At the age of twenty-three Jean Seberg had been “discovered” in the heartland of America, precipitated into the starring roles of two monumental flops, dumped by her famous discoverer-Otto Preminger- and cast into cinematic outer darkness, only to be swept up as the darling of France’s New Wave and to become an international star courted by one of France’s intellectual heroes, a Parisian beauty costumed by Givenchy, and the cynosure of admiring critics. Seldom has an artificially created young celebrity been extinguished so utterly and rekindled so luminously. Never before had an American actress been so nearly destroyed by Hollywood and so fondly embraced by Europe.

Read More: Seberg in Jean-Luc Godard's ground-breaking French film "Breathless".---

In Breathless, she was the beat heroine, at once appealing and almost totally without feeling. There is something fascinating and dismaying about watching this girl on the make in Paris, trifling with the physical love and aborted affection of a killer,Belmondo, quite as nonchalant as herself, then buying him a bottle of milk after she has betrayed him to the police. In La Recreation, she is a schoolgirl who insinuates herself into the life and bed of a married sculptor, the intimation that this is but only the first unsettling trip on a roller coaster that will never stop. She seemed to express a basic melancholy, and sense of loss mixed with innocence of appeal to post war France.


Fifty years ago, a fresh-faced 21-year-old Iowa girl helped give the groundbreaking French film “Breathless” its liberating jolt of jazzy Parisian cool.

Jean Seberg — a native of Marshalltown (between Cedar Rapids and Ames) — led an internationally glamorous, difficult and tumultuous life, and her 40 years are being chronicled in a new feature-length documentary by award-winning Moline filmmakers Kelly and Tammy Rundle and Emmy-nominee Garry McGee. A 12-minute featurette they produced is on a new 50th anniversary DVD of “Breathless.”

“Movie Star: The Secret Lives of Jean Seberg” is the first film to focus on the private side of the famous blonde actress, who at 17 was chosen by Otto Preminger to play Joan of Arc (in “Saint Joan”) out of nearly 18,000 hopefuls. The new film also examines Ms. Seberg’s American and international film career, civil rights activism, and her mysterious 1979 death in Paris.

“She is a fascinating person and still has a huge following all around the world,” producer Tammy Rundle said recently. “Our documentary will dispel many of the myths surrounding Jean’s life, work and untimely death.”

“We just want to do something that’s fair to Jean. We’re not going to gloss over her problems, but not just perpetuate things that make her seem worse than she really was,” she said.Read More:

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