Remembering Jeanne Moreau

No one walked across a screen with more passionate conviction than Jeanne Moreau. The radiant French icon, whom Orson Welles once called “the greatest actress in the world,” passed away on Monday at the age of eighty-nine, leaving behind a six-decade filmography that showcases her beguiling mix of intelligence, sensuality, and emotional fearlessness. In 1958, the world fell in love with her as the complex heroine in Louis Malle’s atmospheric thriller Elevator to the Gallows, whose most famous scene features a sultry Moreau walking wordlessly down the Champs-Élysées to the strains of a Miles Davis score. This breakthrough was followed by a remarkably fruitful period in which she appeared in over thirty films, cementing her reputation not only as one of the great leading ladies of the French New Wave but also as a favorite collaborator of international masters like Welles, Michelangelo Antonioni, and Rainer Werner Fassbinder. This week, we’ve gathered ten of her most memorable performances for a mini-retrospective on the Criterion Channel on FilmStruck. For a taste of all the supplemental features available to stream alongside the films, watch the below excerpt from an interview included on our edition of Elevator to the Gallows, in which Moreau discusses the representation of women and sexuality on-screen.

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