For most cinéphiles outside his native France, Jean-Claude Brialy, who has died of cancer aged 74, is mainly associated with the Nouvelle Vague, in which he was a principal actor. But at home he went on to become one of the most prominent figures in the arts, prolific in films, on television and in the theatre; a brilliant raconteur with the air of a boulevardier, he was also one of the few French stars to be openly gay.
With Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean-Pierre Léaud and Gérard Blain, Brialy was among that generation of actors with a fresh look and an acting style that crystallised the ideological and cinematic goals of the New Wave. The acting was a departure from much that had gone before, with the actors being encouraged to improvise, or talk over each others' lines, as would happen in real life.
Where Belmondo represen...