Jean-Paul Belmondo: That Man From Brasília

Legendary French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, who died this week at the age of 88, played an important role in showing off Brazil's brand-new capital city in the 1960s

belmondo death
Newspaper bearing a cover picture of the late French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo laying in the doorway to the building in which he died, in Paris. Ian Langsdon/EFE/EPA via Folhapress

The death of legendary French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, at the age of 88, prompted an outpouring of tributes from around the world of cinema. Best known for playing the lead role in Jean-Luc Godard’s groundbreaking 1960 new wave classic Breathless, Belmondo was an icon of French cinema, leading an illustrious career that spanned five decades, until his retirement in 2011.

Unknown to many, however, was Belmondo’s important role in publicizing the construction of Brasília, Brazil’s planned capital city. During production for Philippe de Broca’s 1964 action-adventure hit That Man From Rio, Belmondo became the first international movie star to...

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