Seberg

SEBERG TRIES TO EXPLAIN WHY A BUDDING ACTRESS DIED AT AGE 40

Iowa-born actress Jean Seberg (played by Kristen Stewart), icon of the French New Wave films, flies from Paris to Los Angeles in 1968. When Hakim Jamal (Anthony Makie) demands to sit in first class, she supports him. When she walks off the plane, members of the Black Panther Party who sat in the economy section are gathering for a photo op, so she joins them, giving their special salute. Meanwhile, the FBI has been keeping track of LA resident Jamal as a domestic terrorist. When Jean visits him, and learns of how they offer educational opportunities, the FBI decides to surveil her, too, since her support, personal as well as financial, appears to legitimize the movement. Ultimately the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover decides to discredit her in several ways, including rumors that she has his child, and her career falls precipitously. Although FBI agent Jack Solomon (Jack O’Connell) is upset over her mistreatment, he is overruled. Later, he tries to apologize, but much too late to be of real help. Much of the film, directed by Benedict Andrews, portrays her joy associating with the Panthers and agony as the FBI closes in on her. Her attempted suicide in the film is then a hint to account for a credit at the end—her later unexplained death. Another title at the end points out that Hoover’s CONTELPRO operation against the Panthers and other groups was later exposed. The Political Film Society has nominated Seberg as best film exposé and best film on human rights of 2019.  MH