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Bernadette Lafont

Actor with a natural and rebellious style, she helped to launch the French New Wave

Bernadette Lafont, who has died aged 74, could have claimed to be the first female star of the Nouvelle Vague. François Truffaut chose the sensual, dark-haired, 18-year-old Lafont and her new husband, Gérard Blain, to play lovers in the director's first professional film, Les Mistons (The Mischief-Makers, 1957). In this charming short, shot in Nîmes one summer, a group of pubescent boys spy on Lafont and Blain's lovemaking in the fields. Blain and Lafont were also picked to appear in arguably the first French New Wave feature, Claude Chabrol's Le Beau Serge (1958). In this film, about a young man returning to his childhood home, Lafont played the "village vamp".

Lafont's fresh look and performance style crystallised the movement's ideological and cinematic ambitions. Truffaut and his colleagues found mainstream stars inadequate to their needs, using instead unknown and non-professional actors,

See full article on The Guardian - Film News