Anne Wiazemsky, the actor best known for her appearances in films of the French Nouvelle Vague and marriage to director Jean-Luc Godard, has died aged 70 after a battle with cancer. “Anne died this morning. She had been very sick,” her brother Pierre told AFP.
Born in Berlin in 1947, Wiazemsky was the granddaughter of novelist and Nobel literature laureate François Mauriac. At 18, she made her debut in Robert Bresson’s celebrated 1966 film Au Hasard Balthazar, about a farm girl’s relationship with her pet donkey. During the film’s production Bresson became obsessed with Wiazemsky, regularly propositioning her on set. “At first, he would content himself by holding my arm, or stroking my cheek. But then came the disagreeable moment when he would try to kiss me ... I would push him away and he wouldn’t insist, but he looked so unhappy that I always felt guilty,” she recalls in her memoir Jeune Fille.
A year later Wiazemsky met Godard, at the time at the height of his fame, and appeared in his 1967 film La Chinoise, a tale of Maoist revolutionaries living in Paris. The pair married during the film’s production, and Wiazemsky went on to appear in other Godard films, including black comedy Weekend and One Plus One, an agitprop collage that featured scenes of the Rolling Stones recording Sympathy for the Devil interspersed with documentary footage of revolutionary insurrection. Yet, as Godard became more immersed in the social uprising in France and elsewhere in 1968, the marriage became strained. “The further it went on, the more our paths diverged,” she told AFP in an interview earlier this year. The pair divorced in 1979.
Wiazemsky continued to perform in films, most notably alongside Terence Stamp in Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Italian arthouse work Theorem. The film was banned for obscenity in Italy in 1968 for its story of a mysterious stranger who seduces a whole family.
In her later years Wiazemsky published more than a dozen novels, including 2015’s Un an après, about her relationship with Godard. The book became the basis for Michel Hazanavicius’s Redoubtable, and one of Wiazemsky’s last public appearances was at the film’s premiere at the Cannes film festival in May. According to Hazanavicius, Wiazemsky was reluctant to allow him to adapt her book but relented when he said that the film would be funny. “She said, ‘I think it was a funny relationship and a funny time,’” Hazanavicius recalled.
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