Last week, we visited Taiwan's most beautiful child Takeshi Kaneshiro. This week we head over to St. Tropez, France. I first fell hard for Emmanuelle Béart when she appeared on US screens as a blond avenging angel in that great two part French melodrama/epic Jean de Florette and Manon of the Springs(1986). It didn't take long for Hollywood execs to get their lecherous hands on her for throwaway 'exotic beauty' roles in films like Date with an Angel (1987) and Mission Impossible (1996). But they didn't get it. You see, she's best appreciated in serious films that actually use both her incredible disconcerting beauty and her dramatic gift. She won Best Supporting Actress @ The French Oscars (the Cesars) for Manon and has an additional seven Cesar nominations for her dramatic performances . She's also won various international prizes for films like Régis Wargnier'sUne Femme Française (1995) , Nathalie...(2003) co-starring Fanny Ardant and Gérard Depardieu, and the chilly wrenching love triangleUn Coeur En Hiver ( A Heart in Winter)(1992).
The most recent roles to garner her international attention have been in Sentimental Destinies(2000), 8 Women (with a gaggle of other gallic legends), and Strayed(2003). Her latest film is Danis Tanovic's follow up to his Oscar winning debut No Man's Landwhich is called L'Enfer. L'Enfer is actually the second film in the Heaven / Hell / Purgatory trilogy that the legendary Krzysztof Kieslowski (famous in America forThe Double life of Veronique and the Trois Coleurstrilogy) had intended to make before his death. The first of these, Heaven(2002), was made by Germany's Tom Tykwer starring Cate Blanchett. (If you'd like to read a recent TIFF review of L'Enfer here is one from Jeremy Heilman 'the Movie Martyr' --warning: he didn't much like it.)
To see Emmanuelle Béart in full sensual glory, here is a fairly hot desktop sizeshot (NSFW) and another --oh, what the hell. Here's a whole page or tasty jpegs (partially NSFW) and finally here is a still from the film La Belle Noiseuse. Noiseuse is (literally) 4 hours long. I bring this film up because, though it's hardly pornographic-minded (it's really a meditation on the creation of art), Emmanuelle is naked for most of the running time. That'll make the 240 minutes pass swiftly enough for her hordes of international fans. In 1992 when I saw this @ the Detroit Institute of Arts my best friend at the time (who had just gotten married) remarked to me 'Um, I think I'm more familiar with Emmanuelle Béart's body than my wife's.' And then he took off! Wonder where he went...
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