It was wild, ravenously seductive; sometimes primitive; capable of fierce violence, but also of infinite tenderness and absolute loyalty to his friends and the women he loved.
Brigitte bardot, your partner in Extraordinary stories (1968), from Federico Fellini, and one of the few people loved by Alain Delon who survive to greet you today on your birthday, described it a decade ago as “A beast, one of those precious and indomitable animals on the way to extinction.”
Protectionist, like the actor, he shares with him the double stigma of having gone from being the great sexual symbols of the French – and the whole world – to figures always on the verge of cancellation for their misogynistic, homophobic and racist statements.
“It is a sacred monster”, The director of the Cannes Film Festival, Thierry Fremaux, said about him in response to the controversy that he had unleashed in some feminist groups that handed him the honorary Palme d’Or, in May 2019, just three months before he suffered the stroke due to the that he had to be operated on in the Parisian hospital of La Pitié-Salpétriere.
Until the funeral of his beloved companion Jean-Paul Belmondo, last September, that had been his last appearance in public, except for the sporadic photos that his children published on Instagram Anthony and Anoushka during his rehabilitation in Switzerland, and the report that, with canine fidelity, he gave in April this year at La Brulerie – his sanctuary in Douchy, in the South of France – to one of the journalists who know him best, Cyril Viguier, to the special one “Alain Delon faces the world”, which broadcast in July TV5 Monde, and anticipated the magazine Paris match, where the actor of Samurai (1960), Rocco and his brothers (1960), The eclipse (1962) and Our history (1984), usually confessed.
In that magazine he said in 2018 that he wanted to be buried with his dogs, in the Chapel of the legendary chateau he bought in 1971 and where you already have a place reserved for when the time comes. It is that, as many French call it the catpardo, for the film based on the Lampedusa novel that he filmed under the orders of Luchino visconti In ’63, maybe no one like this 86 year old Delon he would do better in a possible remake of the role of that tired and melancholic snake charmer that he then masterfully interpreted Burt Lancaster.
And yet Delon is a dog. Loyal, like a dog. Fierce, like a dog. Territorial, like a dog, which already has marked the place of its refuge where it wants to rest after death. Today Delon is a lonely dog, like a bad dog. Indomitable. Sacred. It is natural for you to identify with them.
Viguier says it: “He was never able to function in a herd, like his beloved Belmondo.” In that sense, confinement due to the pandemic was less harsh for him than for other people his age: “It helped him to regenerate after his stroke, because his nature is lonely.”
The difference now is that no longer choose that loneliness.
Despite the cane, physically, he is recovered. But the actor himself says in the TV5 Monde interview that He doesn’t feel good about himself anymore even in Douchy: “Is not easy. There are children (he also has Alain-Fabienwhat how Anouchka, is the result of his relationship with the model Rosalie van Breemen; already Ari boulogne, with the German singer Nico, whom he never recognized) inheritances, too many things. It is very difficult to think about the end of life all the time, and I can die at any moment”.
In that talk with Virguier, he said something that today seems unlikely. He wanted to make one last movie, and be directed by a woman, to leave in peace. But that was before the Bébel thing finished devastating him.
It is true that many times he spoke of death, and has had deep depressions that were publicLike when van Breemen, his last official partner, left him for a businessman twenty years ago. By then, he admitted to Paris match: “I would not let God choose the day of my death.”
He had just lost one of his favorite dogs, Poeky, and the actor Antonioni and Godard adored. He admitted to thinking “very often” about the idea of taking his own life: “I have the scene before my eyes.”
In fact, he has spoken out on many occasions in favor of euthanasia – and the death penalty, which in addition to his friendship with the far-right Jean-Marie Le Pen and expressions such as that homosexuals should not adopt, and that “if being male is having slapped, then I am male, but they also hit me”, earned him countless criticisms – a right that some fear, could access as a Swiss citizen.
It is true that he’s been flirting with death for over a decade, as when, in 2017, when he said goodbye to Mireille Darc, his wife for 15 years, from 1968 to 1982, but his great confidant forever, said: “It is not that part of my life goes with her, but my entire life. Without her, I’m ready to go too. “
And, again, the following year, when he assured in the special of Paris match for the 60 years of his career: “Life matters little to me. I’ve seen it all. But above all, I hate this time, it makes me want to vomit ”.
Also in that last public presentation before Bébel’s funeral, when he was honored in Cannes, the exact place where his romance with the camera began, in 1956, by the hand of the actress. Brigitte auber, who took him to the festival for the first time as his companion. Upon receiving the Palme d’Or from his favorite daughter and the only one with whom he does not have a conflictive relationship – the youngest, Alain-Fabien, accused him in 2014 before Vanity fair from “Macho, xenophobic, violent, and always ready to humiliate his family and his many women with cold ferocity”– He said that he considered it “a posthumous award in life.”
He felt that his career and his life were the same, and they were over. Three months later, he had the stroke that imposed a personal rethinking and a relative family approach.
But this year, in addition to his fellow adventurers from Borsalino (1974), he lost his first wife, Nathalie delon, Anthony’s mother, whom he was married to between 1964 and 1969. “It was the only Madame Delon. I was part of his life, it was part of mine. It always hurts to see those we love leave “she said in a video she recorded for her son’s Instagram.
This is why Belmondo’s departure was such a dramatic blow. “I am completely devastated. I’m going to try to hold out so as not to do the same in five hours – he broke down before Radio Europe 1 -. It wouldn’t be bad if the two of us left together, just like we started together 60 years ago. We have made French cinema, the two of us, he and I, we are two icons of French cinema, you cannot talk about one without the other. We are the same age, it will soon happen to me too ”.
At the ceremony, in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés church, he hugged the coffin crying, and the world wept with him. “Jean (Gabin), Lino (Ventura), Romy (Schneider)… They are all dead.” The strong male, the most beautiful man in history, was irretrievably broken.
Delon, that dog man, the beautiful dog, the brave, lonely and bad dog, always said that his most sensitive part was the heart. Some say that he never recovered from his breakup with Van Breemen, but he stated more than once that the one who misses the most in his life is Schneider, his first great love. “The first, the biggest and the saddest,” as he told Vanity fair in an interview in which he confessed that he still carries with him everywhere, in the inside pocket of his jacket, the photo that he took of the actress, already dead, on his bed, in 1982. He had left it for Nathalie almost two decades before, with a bouquet of roses and a note in which he swore: “I give you back your freedom, I leave you my heart.”
It complied. Three years ago, on September 22, 2018, he personally went to the writing of Le Figaro with a handwritten note that she wanted published the next day: “Rosemarie Albach-Retty, Romy Schneider. He would have turned 80 today. May those who loved you and who continue to love you have a thought for her. Thanks. Alain Delon ”.
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Alain Delon today: without love and without Belmondo, the sadness of the man who was the most beautiful in the world