I have an hour commute each morning and listen to podcasts frequently. My interests are diverse and this week “ You must remember This” has been my choice. A delightful podcast that takes you into the lives of stars and starlets in the early days. This week I listened to Jean and Jane. This is a podcast in multiple parts focusing on the lives of two actresses and comparing the trajectory of their lives. I became enthralled with both stories but Jean struck a chord in me.
She was from Marshalltown, IA and her name was Jean Seberg. I am from the Midwest and my middle name is Jean. As I listened to her story I felt as if I knew her, at least her Midwest upbringing, the rest is a tale that is joyous, sad, true complete with a tragic Hollywood ending.
In her short life she did it all, left Iowa, became a star in a most unexpected way, and forged her way through directors, lovers and films. She was an activist and woman who spoke her mind. She survived marriage, death , birth and loss all in the middle of the public eye.
As I listened to the story I became intrigued and wanted to see her films, experience what the public was treated to in each performance. I began googling, I was able to find clips of films, St. Joan, Breathless that made her a star, interviews, brief cuts from films and pictures so many pictures. There she was with her pixie cut, life twinkling in her eyes and her voice. She looked a little like Audrey Hepburn with her hair cut, there was something simply delightful about her laid back casual style.
I found a brief scene from “Lilith” and then another. This was the film I wanted to see in it’s entirety, this is the one exalted as her best performance. The one I was unable to find. As I watched the clips, I soaked in every bit, her nuances, acting as if she wasn’t acting but just being Jean.
It is impossible to not be taken by this coquettish charmer. I kept searching and I couldn’t turn away I was captivated by her. I am glad she shared herself with us, even for a short time. We remain grateful.
The beauty of film is that it has the ability to preserve life at it’s highest and it’s lowest, and to be captured on film is to remain immortal.
Jean struggled with life, and hers ended in a tragic manner, still open to speculation. The gift she left us is not in her death but in her life and the ability to revisit her through film.
Watch a film if you get a chance, she will leave you breathless.
Until Next Time,