M.Ascenders are among the heroes of the film business that are far too rarely sung about. Marlène Jobert, for example, had a long time ago traffic accident that left a 13 centimeter scar and the freckles on her left cheek no longer showing up.
In her appearances in films such as “Musketeer with a blow and stab” as the scruffy partner of Jean-Paul Belmondo or at Lino Ventura’s side in “The Commissioner and his Decoy” nothing of this can be seen. Her daughter Eva Green, on the other hand, bears a disturbing, albeit extremely decorative scar in her next film but one, the Danish western “Salvation”: Her figure was kidnapped by Indians who cut out her tongue and cut her lips. But this time she wears it with defiant pride, signaling to the world that from now on she will not put up with anyone anymore.
At first glance, one might not mistake mother and daughter for relatives. The red-haired, boyish Jobert was on the screen, for example at the side of Charles Bronson in “He Came Out of the Rain”, potentially the victim of aggressive virility. In return, Green uses her eroticism aggressively. In the rude neo-noir “Sin City 2”, her body is a deadly weapon. In life, however, the actresses seem inseparable.
Rumors of affairs with politicians
Jobert is a proud mother, and Green assures her that she would never move to Los Angeles to be around her mother at all times. Despite all the contrasts between their respective screen personas, a symmetry emerges. This also includes the rumor of a liaison with a politician, which is mandatory for actresses in France.
Jobert was caught in 1974 with Valérie Giscard d’Estaing in a Ferrari that he had borrowed from director Roger Vadim. Green, on the other hand, steadfastly denies that Nicolas Sarkozy stalked her.
One could consider these dynasties of actors to be one of those “ffd” phenomena (“fille ou fils de”, daughter or son of) that there is no shortage of in French cinema. In fact, however, it is broader and more complex, a family cosmos whose coordinates include icons of pop culture such as James Bond and Emmanuelle, as well as the rigorous cinematic retreats of Robert Bresson and Michael Haneke.
There are some satellites on the Jobert side: the daughter of Marlène’s sister Christiane is the chanson singer Elsa Lunghini; the daughter of her brother Charles, a cameraman, is Joséphine Jobert, a television actress. More sparkling, however, is the Green genealogy.
Between Bresson and “Emmanuelle”
Eva’s father Walter is a dentist from Sweden who appeared in Bresson’s “For example Balthasar” in 1966. In public he is of course just as invisible as Eva’s dizygoti twin sister Joy, who was drawn into business life and who otherwise devotes herself to horse breeding.
Eva’s aunt is Marika Green, who made her cinema debut in Bresson’s “Pickpocket” at the age of 16: a quiet presence with a downcast gaze that persistently develops into the moral center of the film. In 1973 she completed some love scenes with Sylvia Kristel in “Emmanuelle”, which were considered very daring at the time. Once in the course of her otherwise largely unspectacular film career, she also met her later sister-in-law: In “Der aus dem Regen” she takes off Marlène Jobert’s coat as a hostess in a dubious nightclub.
At the beginning of the eighties she got to know the Austrian cameraman Christian Berger while filming the Schnitzler film adaptation “Der Weg ins Freie” in addition, he developed innovative lighting techniques and most recently photographed “Das große Heft” and “Ludwig II”.
A cinematic love poem to the wife
Their connection has both romantic and aesthetic relevance: the sober precision of the gaze of the Haneke films derives not least from his admiration for Bresson. In 1989 Berger staged “Hanna Monster, Liebling” with Marika, which was shown as an Austrian contribution in Venice and is a love poem to his wife. Together they worked up the family history of the Green in an exhibition and book project. Walter and Marika’s grandmother Mia was a pioneer of photography in Sweden, and when they moved to Paris, their son Lennart became the photographic chronicler of the artistic scene in Saint-Germain.
Marlène Jobert and Walter Green got to know each other through top-class cinematic detours. Since “Bathasar” was co-produced with Sweden, Bresson was looking for Swedish actors and consulted his leading actress from “Pickpocket”. Jean-Luc Godard, in whose “Masculin-Feminine” Jobert made her cinema debut, fell in love with Walter’s screen partner Anne Wiazemsky and introduced the actors to each other. Jobert and Green got married later, but on screen they already showed a deep kinship: his character in “Balthasar” looks just as childishly dreamy as hers in “He came out of the rain”.
The mother has the reputation of a troublemaker
Jobert was a big star in the late 1960s and early 1970s, playing with Claude Chabrol, Philippe de Broca, Claude Lelouch, Louis Malle and Maurice Pialat. But she only worked once with each director. The officer’s daughter gained a reputation for being a troublemaker, and largely withdrew from the cinema in the eighties to devote herself to her family. Today she is an immensely successful author of children’s and fairy tale books. In 2002 she turned down François Ozone’s offer to play in “8 Women”.
The shadow from which her daughter had to free herself, however, was burdensome. As a precaution, she took acting classes in London. It helped that she looked more like her father (her twin sister comes after the mother). She appeared only once in French cinema (in “Arsène Lupine”) and turned down promising offers, including that of Claude Miller to play a leading role in “A Secret”. With “Die Träumer” and as Versper Lynd in “Casino Royale” she became an international star. Since then she has given Hollywood blockbusters a flair of unpredictable exotic sensuality.
The grammar of body language
Her mother is said to have been shocked when she saw the nude scenes of her daughter in Bernardo Bertolucci’s “The Dreamers”. She did not know anyone more shameful than Eva, she emphasized at the time. It was often staged as an object of curiosity. “The Police War”, for example, comes up with one of the most bizarre scenes in the French crime film: She is attacked by a man in a Mickey Mouse mask while she is in the shower, but has a revolver ready with which to defend herself against the attacker can.
The curiosity to see the Jobert Green clan can be followed in France on relevant websites that present a genealogy of the nude studies of Marlène, Marika, Eva and their cousins. From this one does not have to conclude that the actresses have a desire to show. But if a US critic remarks to Eva’s appearance in “Sin City 2” that she understands the complicated grammar of body language, one can agree with her: It runs in the family.