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Sam Shephard

Jeanne Moreau


On my Instagram page, Jeanne Moreau and Sam Shephard gaze at each other. Her sad news came before his, on this last day of July 2017. She is talking on the phone, with a pensive look on her face, staring into the distance. He is watching her closely, to incorporate her character in one of his new plays. In the photos, hers in black and white, his in colour, she is younger than him. He was 73 when he died, last Thursday. She was 89, the same age as my departed mother.

I remember the black and white movies of my youth, mainly French and Italian, of the New Wave. She was the unpredictable protagonist, smoking Gauloises, in the dark stories. Her eyes and lips acted the part when she let them take over, instead of speaking.  A mysterious beauty whose acting talent has been endorsed in cinema and on stage over the years.

Sam Shephard, a soft spoken man, whose talent is deeper than his image in the movies. A Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, one who, as the New York Times says, captured the darker side of the American family life. A member of the Off Broadway movement. A  man who has crossed the borders.

Sam looks at Jeanne and studies her, remembering the many characters she’s played. He’s thinking about a new screenplay. She’s the protagonist, wild, sensuous, intriguing and mesmerizing.

Jeanne feels she’s being watched. She recognizes the man, the playwright, the director, the actor. She likes challenges, she likes change. “If he offers me a part, I’ll take it. But I’m too old,” she sighs.

Sam smiles. “The part is for an old lady, but a mischievous one.”