Jane Birkin turned seventy last December. She has resurfaced occasionally after the crushing loss of her eldest daughter at the end of 2013. Birkin remarked that she "did not leave the house for a year", grieving in private.
In spring of 2016 she was one of the faces of a Hedi Slimane St. Laurent campaign for Le Smoking, the suit that delivers a dash of insouciance to every woman wearing one. The professional shot makes the most of her natural beauty, and it's classic Jane, that warmth and nonchalance more appealing than the clothes.
This past fall, when photographed with her daughter Lou Doillon, Birkin had a fuller face and figure, which may be due to medication; she has mentioned that she had been "very ill".
Jane currently stars in what she says is her last film, the 30-minute "La Femme et le TGV" (The Railroad Lady), which received an Oscar nomination for Best Short Film. She's still 'Jane', showing a bare (well, for a film) face that's lived-in and wise.
Birkin, unlike few stars of her era (and a generation before) has not gone the surgery route. She said in an interview last year that not having begun those procedures decades before, she felt it was too late now—the change would be too dramatic.
I recalled what Carrie Fisher said: that when she signed her Star Wars contract she did not realize she was agreeing to look the same for the next forty years.
That wasn't Jane's deal. Adored for her nonchalant sexiness when young, celebrated in countless posts for a Levis-and-baskets raffishness as she matured, she now brings her presence and radiant smile to a last screen appearance.
Youthful beauty fades for everyone; intelligence and character persevere. I only hope, as Birkin steps from the stage, other women actors follow her, and let their unaltered faces travel along with us.