The Europeans discovered the most beautiful American actress of the 20th century, Jean Seberg. Specifically, it was Otto Preminger, an Austria-Hungary–born Hollywood director, who discovered her. (Preminger also discovered the second most beautiful actress of the 20th century, Dorothy Dandridge, and the most famous Somalian model in the universe, Iman. Preminger, however, did not discover the third most beautiful actress of the 20th century, Gong Li—that honor goes to Zhang Yimou.)

The movie that made Seberg a star was not Preminger’s Bonjour Tristesse but Goddard’s first and best feature, Breathless. Everyone must already know of this film. Breathless and François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows launched the New Wave moment in cinema. The 400 Blows was essentially a French film about French films. Breathless was essentially a French film about the factory system of American filmmaking, Hollywood. And what makes this movie so strange (and in that strangeness is the source of much of its brilliance) is that it celebrated Hollywood by featuring a French Bogart, Jean-Paul Belmondo, and a failed Hollywood American actress, Seberg—her beauty was too striking, too singular for the image factory of the world. A last word about Preminger: According to Wikipedia, he apparently discovered Seberg after a talent search. Eighteen thousand young women applied, and he selected the one and only Seberg. recommended