French filmmakers retrace steps of Seberg

Marshalltown’s Jean Seberg remains an influential figure in France and people still want to learn more about her life.

French filmmakers Olivier Raffet and Anne Andreu have been in Marshalltown this week retracing the steps of the actress during her childhood and teen years for a documentary to air on French and German public television later this year. Seberg was born in Marshalltown in 1938 and died in France in 1979.

“In France, she is quite a well-known actress because of her performance in ‘Breathless,'” Raffet said. “We are seeing different people who have known her.”

They have been escorted around town by Bob Norris, a friend of Seberg’s who now lives in Massachusetts. Norris showed them Seberg’s childhood home, the former location of the Seberg Pharmacy, the Orpheum Theater and other landmarks in town.

“I was a classmate of Jean and she is certainly our most famous classmate,” Norris said. “She was a wonderful woman.”

The filmmakers also visited Jean’s sister, Mary Ann Seberg Shuey, in Tennessee and will talk to a the former head of the Black Panther Party in California after their visit in Marshalltown.

Raffet said the more they learn about Seberg the more they are finding out what an exceptional person she was.

“She deserves to have a tribute,” Andreu said.