It wasn’t the rush you might expect. The opening of the exhibition dedicated to Jean-Paul Belmondo, at the Palais Rihour in Lille, did not attract large crowds, Saturday and Sunday, despite the special circumstances of the event. The French actor died last Monday at the age of 88.
The first two days attracted, all the same, 800 visitors, like the exhibition on Bourvil, last year. This Sunday morning, many even found themselves there “by chance”. “We discovered the exhibition by coming to the tourist office. I’m not a Belmondo enthusiast, but we take advantage of it, because he was nevertheless one of our best actors, ”says Bernard, who comes from Seine-Maritime.
“It represents the joy of living”
Bruno, on the contrary, is a big fan of the actor. “He represents the joy of living in his different roles. I didn’t know him, but I think he must be like that in life, ”jokes the northerner. “They moved quickly to set up this exhibition”, is surprised, like many, Alexandre, who came from Belgium. Without knowing that the CineComedies festival team, at the origin of the event, had scheduled it for months.
Several private collectors have thus made their contribution to offer some shooting accessories: the swimsuit worn by Belmondo in Tender thug, for example. This panorama is supplemented by archives of the National Audiovisual Institute (INA) allowing to (re) discover filming anecdotes.
This is another, more personal anecdote shared by Audrey. For this thirty-year-old girl from Lille, this story has become a family legend. “The meeting of my grandmother with Jean-Paul Belmondo nourished all the family meals of my childhood”, she has fun telling.
A photo “in love”
We are between 1962 and 1964, at the time when the actor is at the height of his film career. Audrey’s grandmother, named Lucelle, owns a hairdressing salon in Le Touquet. On vacation in Monte-Carlo, she attends, with her brother-in-law and sister-in-law, the famous automobile Grand Prix.
“At the end, they went to the finish line where they saw Belmondo. My grandmother had the nerve to go ask her for a photo. She was not cold in the eyes. She was an avant-garde feminist, ”continues Audrey. The actor would then have said to him: “Okay, but only if we are two, in love”
Today, the black and white photo is a little yellowed. We see a young blonde woman with glasses, in profile, smiling at Belmondo who answers her with the same smile. An intruder is nevertheless encrusted, in the background, to spoil the “plan of the lovers”. “My grandmother also told me that he invited her to dinner that night,” says Audrey. We never knew if it was true because she always remained discreet on the subject. “