A worshipful, made-for-TV tribute co-directed by Vincent Perrot and Jeff Domenech on the life and career of one of France’s most popular and charismatic male stars, “Belmondo” boasts a wealth of film clips and testimonials from fellow thesps, helmers and family members attesting to Jean-Paul Belmondo’s special qualities (virility!) and influence on a subsequent generations of actors. Although designed for a smallscreen French audience, docu could find play at offshore fests, cinematheques and broadcast, especially as a lead-in to retrospectives.
Framed by scenes of “Bebel” (sidelined by a stroke in 2001) appreciatively watching the pic unspool in the company of his son, the film etches his history as a youthful athlete, impressive student at the Paris Conservatory, and icon of the French New Wave. Although Belmondo is best known offshore for his roles in arthouse films by Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Melville and Francois Truffaut, the docu concentrates on his work as a top action star, with clips emphasizing his daring stunts. While discreet on exact details, the pic also touches on his appeal to the opposite sex and liaisons with screen beauties such as Ursula Andress and Laura Antonelli.