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Belle at the New Yorker Festival, 7 October 2007
29 April 1973|
|Known for||Parkour, film District 13|
|Height||1.79 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|Children||Alex Belle (son; born 1998)|
Raymond Belle (father)|
Monique Belle (mother)
|Relatives||Jean-François Belle (brother)|
David Belle (born 29 April 1973) is a French actor, film choreographer and stunt coordinator. He is deemed the founder and leading pioneer of the physical discipline Parkour, coining it based on his training and the teachings from his father Raymond Belle. Belle came to fame via his parkour videos and film appearances, such as District 13, District 13: Ultimatum, which were written and produced by Luc Besson, and the American remake Brick Mansions. Belle has also consulted on the making of Babylon A.D., Prince of Persia, Colombiana and The Family. He is the chair of the Parkour Committee of the International Federation of Gymnastics.
Life and career
Belle was born and raised in Fécamp, France, the son of Monique and Raymond Belle, in a modest family in the suburbs of Paris. His grandfather Gilbert Kitten, father Raymond, and brother Jean-François Belle have been highly skilled rescuers in the Military Paris Fire Brigade.
In 1984, at the age of 11, Belle moved to Lisses, France. He made close friends with a group of teenagers with similar physical passions who began training with him. Some of the friends that trained with David would later become known as the Yamakasi. Later in life, Belle spent time in the military and fire brigade with aspirations of following in his father's and grandfather's footsteps. He left soon after for personal reasons in order to dedicate himself to parkour.
Belle later joined the Troupes de marine in Vannes, where he received a promotion, a gymnastic agility certificate of honour, and champion records for regimental rope-climbing (which his father had once held) and the Essonne obstacle course. He has however said that his taste and love for adventure and freedom did not go well with the regimented life of the military.
Upon completing his national service, he worked in various professions including a warehouse worker, security guard and furniture salesman. He also spent 3 months in India studying kung fu. After his return he continued his training in parkour and filmed footage of his capabilities which he later turned into the famous Speed Air Man video. In 1997 the Stade 2 team (Francis Marroto, Pierre Sled and Pierre Salviac) were shown a video of Belle and decided to film a news feature about parkour.
In filming this news feature, the term Yamakasi was used for the first time in connection with the team. Belle did not approve of the name and felt like it did not give credit to his father, so he split from the group after the feature. Later Belle would go on to train other students who gave themselves the name 'tracer.' The spelling was later adapted to 'traceur', and has since been used to define a practitioner of parkour. However more recently, Belle claimed that "A traceur is not a practitioner of parkour, a traceur is someone who is trying to understand parkour."
Belle was first introduced to his acting career in a meeting with Hubert Koundé (La Haine), in order to discuss the success of parkour in cinema. He then began developing his acting ability with the play Pygmalion, and has since been successful in obtaining a number of roles mostly in French films and promotions. Belle has been featured in promotional videos for Tina Turner, and Iam. He has starred in "Les gens du voyages" and "Un monde meilleur", followed by "L'Engrenages" and "Femme Fatale", as well as "Les rivières pourpres 2", starring Jean Reno. After filming several more advertisements and promotions for the BBC, Nissan, Canon, and Nike, Belle was contacted by Luc Besson (director of Nikita, and The Fifth Element) regarding co-starring as lead actor with Cyril Raffaelli in the action movie District 13, followed by the sequel District 13: Ultimatum. Belle co-starred with Paul Walker in Brick Mansions (2014), a remake of District 13.
|2000||Louis Page||Laurent||1 Episode|
|2001||Engrenage, L||Le créancier|
|2002||Femme Fatale||French Cop|
|2004||District 13||Leïto||Parkour film debut|
|2008||Babylon A.D.||Hacker Kid||-|
|2009||District 13: Ultimatum||Leïto|
|2012||Métal Hurlant Chronicles||Red Light||1 Episode|
|2014||Brick Mansions||Lino Duppre||District 13 Remake|
|2002||BBC One||Advertising Campaign|
|2003||Crimson Rivers II: Angels of the Apocalypse||Stunt Coordinator|
|2005||Transporter 2||Stunt Coordinator|
|2010||Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time||Stunt Coordinator|
|2011||Covert Affairs||Stunt Coordinator|
|2014-2015||Dying Light||Antoine Merpe||Also Mo-Cap, Stunt Coordinator & Counseling|
Endorsements and groups
Belle largely stays out of the public spotlight. His last major appearance was when he appeared as a guest at the New Yorker Festival in 2007. Belle was interviewed for the parkour article "No Obstacles" written by Alec Wilkinson which was published in April 2007.
- Les Traceurs
- PAWA (former member)
- Belle helped form the Parkour World Association, but he stopped the group for lack of cohesion.
- Belle was never a member of the Yamakasi group. He was a part of the group that later called themselves the Yamakasi, but the group chose the name Yamakasi during the filming of the Stade 2 news feature, credited as the first news feature about parkour. Belle was against the name and wanted to call the practice "parkour". He then split from the group after the feature because he felt that naming took away from the recognition of the discipline and its history.
- "David Belle: Founder of Parkour Interview". parkulture.com. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
- H.G. (6 October 2017). "Parkour's street stuntmen resent the sport's new organisers". The Economist.
- "David Belle". zoom-cinema.fr. Retrieved 20 January 2011.
nous sommes le 29 avril 1973 à Fécamp. Naissance de David Belle(...)Suivant les traces de son père, Raymond Belle, et de son grand-père, Gilbert Kitten, David Belle rejoint les sapeurs pompiers de Paris puis les troupes de marine à Vannes
- "David Belle". parkourpedia.com (Original French biography referenced to David-Belle.com which no longer exists). Retrieved 20 January 2011.
David Belle was born on 29 April 1973 in Fécamp, in the Seine-Maritime département in Normandy. Descended from a modest family from the Parisian suburbs, it was in Fécamp and later in the town of Sables d’Olonne that David spent the first fourteen years of his life. Raised by his maternal grandfather, Gilbert Kitten (former sergeant-major of the Parisian sapeurs-pompiers military fire service), David was impressed by tales of heroism, and developed from a young age a passion for anything to do with action.
- "Interview with David Belle". parkourpedia.com (Original French biography referenced to David-Belle.com which no longer exists). 22 April 2009. Archived from the original on 4 June 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2011.
Firstly, after being a fireman, I went into the army. I was in the Marine Infantry. It was a coincidence I found myself in movies. It was not a vocation. Not something I wanted to do since I was little. What I wanted was to make my sport known: that parkour become recognized.(...)I never trained parkour to perform or show off. To me, parkour is something personal. It just happened to get popular. I’m not the one who put it on the internet
- "No Obstacles". newyorker.com. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
- "The Website of David Belle". DavidBelle.com. Archived from the original on 4 June 2012. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
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