Today is Emmanuelle Béart's 46th birthday. Here she is to your left earlier this summer with another Gallic great Isabelle Huppert. Huppert is still an arthouse draw in the states but it seems like it's been ages since Béart made it to our screens in any significant way. There's been a teensy run here and there (Strayed, The Witnesses) but the last film that won any real attention was 8 Women (2002) also starring Huppert... and Catherine Deneuve and Fanny Ardant and Ludivine Sagnier. Mon dieu, je l'aime!
The last time I remember hearing other Americans talk about Béart was in college in the early to mid90s when Béart had that critically acclaimed run of Un Couer en Hiver (Cesar nom), L'Enfer, A French Woman and Nelly & Monsieur Arnaud (Cesar nomination) but international stardom is a tough thing to maintain for anyone, no matter how beautiful or talented. Exceedingly rare are the Hupperts and Deneuves who can hold on to it with a steel grip all their lives.
She's not French but look at the career of Franka Potente? How the hell did she not stay as famous as she was in the late 90s after Run Lola Run? She was just as riveting to watch in The Princess and the Warrior even if the film wasn't as good and she more than held her own in The Bourne Identity. Makes you wonder what will become of Gael Garcia Bernal, Audrey Tatou, Marion Cotillard in ten years time. Hasn't Zhang Ziyi essentially disappeared already?
<--- The star with her husband, french actor Michael Cohen.
Béart first won my heart as skinny dipping Manon, the youthful goddess of Manon of the Spring. That movie made me bawl. I remember being greatly confused that Jean de Florette (the preface) and Manon (the conclusion) weren't nominated at the Oscars. That epic two-parter had to make due with Globe and BAFTA attention -- though I knew nothing of the other awards back then so the honors were lost on me. I was so obsessed with Jean/Manon that I even bought the soundtrack and used to sing along with the theme song phonetically. What was I singing about? I didn't know but assuming it was a hymn to Béart was good enough for me.
Here is the original trailer to Manon and a recent French cel phone commercial (creepy or funny?) starring the famous beauty.
Where would you rank Béart in the pantheon of French goddesses? And which young French actress are you obsessed with? I mean, besides Ludivine Sagnier who I'll assume you love? If not, don't tell me otherwise!
[If you aren't familiar with Béart or maybe just beginning to fall in love with French cinema, Netflix has 21 of Béart's movies. Lots to choose from.]