French film stars Jeanne Moreau, Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche offer support for Iraq hostages
French film stars Jeanne Moreau, Catherine Deneuve, and Juliette Binoche have joined forces with other French celebrities to offer support – by way of recorded voice messages – for Iraq hostages Christian Chesnot, a Radio France correspondent, and Georges Malbrunot, a reporter for the Parisian daily Le Figaro. Along with their Syrian driver, Mohammed al-Jundi, Chesnot and Malbrunot were kidnapped by a group identifying itself as the Islamic Army on Aug. 20 in Iraq.
The kidnappers’ declared aim is to force the government of French President Jacques Chirac to lift its ban on headscarves (and other “conspicuous” religious symbols) in the country’s public schools. Chirac and his supporters, however, have refused to budge. Signed into law last March, the ban went into effect at the beginning of the school year in early September.
The voice messages, which were recorded under the auspices of Reporters sans Frontières, were first broadcast on French radio on Sept. 17. The fate of the three hostages held in Iraq remains unknown.
Update: In November 2004, U.S. Marines freed Mohammed al-Jundi in Fallujah. The following month, the Islamic Army released Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot.
French cinema icons
Among Jeanne Moreau’s most notable acting credits are Louis Malle’s Elevator to the Gallows and The Lovers; Roger Vadim’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses; Michelangelo Antonioni’s La Notte; François Truffaut’s Jules and Jim; Luis Buñuel’s Diary of a Chambermaid; and Lumière, which Moreau herself directed.
In movies since the late 1950s, Catherine Deneuve’s big-screen credits range from Cannes-winning musicals (Jacques Demy’s The Umbrellas of Cherbourg) to vampire cult classics (Tony Scott’s The Hunger), in addition to then off-screen companion Roger Vadim’s Vice and Virtue, Luis Buñuel’s Belle de Jour and Tristana, François Truffaut’s The Last Metro, and François Ozon’s 8 Women.
The most recent arrival among this particular trio, Juliette Binoche has already amassed a well-regarded body of work, including Philip Kaufman’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colors: Blue, and Jean-Paul Rappeneau’s The Horseman on the Roof. In early 1997, Binoche was the unexpected Best Supporting Actress Academy Award winner for her (co-lead) role in Anthony Minghella’s The English Patient.
“French Film Stars Support Iraq Hostages” notes
More details about the release of the three hostages can be found at IFEX.org.
Jeanne Moreau Eva movie image: Paris Films.
“French Film Stars Support Iraq Hostages” last updated in May 2023.