Bernadette Lafont


  1. Juliette Mayniel, Les cousins, France, 1959. Having started la nouvelle vague with Le beau Serge in 1957, Claude Chabrol wanted the same trio of new found  stars in his second opus. However, Lafont’s husband, Gérard Blain, was already jealous of her success being mightier than his (she had also made François Truffaut’s Les mistons) and blocked her joining him and Jean-Claude Brialy again. No matter, she made more films for “Cha-Cha” during 1958-1960: A double tour, Les bonnes femmes, Les godelureux. Plus Violette Noziere, 1977, Inspecteur Lavardin, 1985,  Masques, 1986.   Mayniel remained  chabrollienne in Opélia and Landru in 1962.
  2. Michèle Mercier, Tirez sur le pianiste  (UK:Shoot thr Pianist; US: Shoot the Piano Player), France, 1959. Lafont was committed elsewhere (or not sure about trusting the second film of the brand new realisateur of Les quatre cents coups;  The 400 Blowsd). Mercier saved the day as Clarisse the hooker.    Lafont returned to the new New Wave leader in 1972.  How could she resist a move called  Une belle filles comme moi (A Gorgeous Girl like Me).
  3. Jean Seberg,  A bout de souffle/Breathless, France, 1960. For his leading lady, critic-turned-director  Jean-Luc Godard hesitated between the New Wave Queen Lafont and Vadim’s wife, Annette Stroyberg, before going a l’américaine.
  4. Francine  Racette,  Lumiere, France,  1975.  Bernadette’s replacement in Jeanne  Moreau’s directing debut was… Mrs Donald Sutherland.
  5. Natalie Perrey, La nuit des horloges, 2006. French B-movie horrorsmith was badly treated by “stars.” He went backstage to see Lafont at the theatre. She’d she read his script but wanted a rest when the play finished. “I’ll call you, OK?” He was still awaiting her call a year later… Rollin, therefore, turned – and not for the first time – to what US critic Tim Lucas called “the backbone and sometimes the very sinew of his filmography.” Natalie was in the French Resistance at 12, worked her way up in film from costumier in 1969 to script supervisor, production assistant and assistant director and actress for Rollin – and here, Lucas said, she served as a kind of pallbearer for Rollin, himself…
  6. Dominique Lavanant, Les vacances du petit Nicolas, France, 2013.    Poor little Nicolas lost his Mémé(Granny)… the Nouvelle Vaugueicon of the French Fifties.  She died at age 74 on July 25, 2013, after a day on location at on L’île de Noirmoutier. Rished top hospital, she died where she was born – in Nimes. Nicolas would have been her 191st screen role since She working with François Truffaut (Les Mistons, 1957) and  Claude Chabrol (Le Beau Serge, 1958) at the late 50s’ birth of  the New Wave. Plus Jean Eustache’s seminal 1973 love triangle La maman et la putain. She won a support actress César for Claude Miller’s film L’Effrontée (An Impudent Girl), 1986,  And an Honorary César in 2003.



 Birth year: 1938Death year: 2013Other name: Casting Calls:  5