Granted, it’s a 12-minute short so we don’t get to look at Jean-Paul Belmondo for as long as we’d like. Granted, his voice is dubbed by director Jean-Luc Godard so we don’t get to listen to him either. And yeah, after the devastating news of his death earlier this month, I could have easily chosen his most iconic performance, in Godard’s Breathless (1960) or any of his films with best friend Alain Delon. But everybody’s been doing that. So I decided to go for the short film Charlotte and Her Boyfriend (Charlotte et son Jules) for this month’s WORLD CINEMA instead.
In this poignant tribute to Jean Cocteau, the boyfriend, played by Belmondo, berates his ex-girlfriend Charlotte (Anne Collette) upon her return home one afternoon. Everything from their relationship to her carefree behavior to all the men who want to sleep with her and the filmmaker who she is indeed sleeping with. All the while, Charlotte remains silent and aloof, casually entertaining herself with a few things around the house while he rants. The conclusion is a rather funny one, even though most of the film’s twelve minutes are spent in this Parisian apartment as we listen to him go on and on and on, going from one extreme to another, to the extent that it may be uncomfortable at times. Still, this early Godard flick shows us exactly why Belmondo remains one of cinema’s coolest cats. With his natural charm, a rough-around-the-edges touch about him, his bedroom eyes and luscious lips as well as his general swagger and natural acting ability, it’s easy to why Jean-Paul Belmondo was destined to be a star. Indeed, a year later, he was. No doubt he’s charming everyone in Celebrity Heaven as we speak.