Bellar du Jour

By Graham Fuller - August 1996

Of all the actresses who've graced Eric Rohmer's movie fables over the decades, none so perfectly espouses the classically furrow-browed Rohmerian beauty as Clara Bellar, a star of this month's lovely, cinema verité-ish Rendezvous in Paris. Bellar wrote to the nouvelle-vague master when she was twelve, didn't get a reply, and wrote to him again when she was nineteen - this time he wrote back. Rohmer duly saw her in a Paris stage production of Sleeping Beauty, and asked Clara to brainstorm with him. Over tea, she told him about "a guy who'd come on to me at a farmers' market and bombarded me with clichés, like 'You're the sunshine of this Sunday morning'. I was a little flattered, so it went on for ten minutes. When he left, I couldn't find my purse.' She also told Rohmer about two of her girlfriends who, unbeknownst to each other, were both dating the same "pretty famous French actor." Rohmer welded both incidents into the first, and best, of Rendezvous's three tales and cast Clara as the love-struck, fluty-voiced student who overcomes her boyfriend and petty-thief problems to arrive at a newfound serenity. She is both beguiled and beguiling in the role, and has since gone on to clinch parts in an upcoming British movie, Romance and Rejection, and the American Dead Man's Curve.

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