Midweek Mumble – The French Revolution
To celebrate the release of Birdsong on DVD, Tom has taken a look at the recent surge in French actors who have been making waves throughout the film industry.
Following in the footsteps of veteran actors such as Gerard Depardieu and Jean Reno, these gifted stars are out to prove that the French can compete with the very best that Hollywood has to offer.
You will probably recognise Clemence Poesy as the incredibly gorgeous actress who caught Colin Farrel’s attention as Chloe in Martin McDonagh’s deliciously dark comedy In Bruges. She has since appeared in 127 Hours, reprised her role as Fleur Delacour in the Harry Potter series, and now stars in the adaptation of Sebastian Faulk’s epic love story, Birdsong, which is set against the backdrop of the First World War. Poesy’s unique and irresistible French charm echoes throughout the majority of her characters and her performance in Birdsong is no exception to this, showcasing her ability to portray a range of emotions in a role that will surely increase her ever growing fan base.
Vincent Cassell’s career as an actor kicked off in style when he appeared in the gritty French crime drama La Haine back in 1995 and he has since enjoyed success in films as diverse as Mesrine, Black Swan and the Ocean’s Eleven series. His stellar turn in Gaspar Noe’s disturbingly brutal thriller Irreversible remains a career highlight with the intensity of his performance highlighting the versatility of a truly great actor. Cassel is easily one of France’s greatest exports and with his latest turn in Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method it is clear that he is not willing to rest on his laurels, and strives to deliver memorable performances even when the films he appears in don’t always hit their mark.
Everyone knows and loves Audrey for her delightfully innocent performance in Amelie but few will have seen her in the brilliantly twisted thriller He Loves Me, He Loves me not… which portrays the darker side of infatuation and unhealthy obsessions and deserves to be seen by a much wider audience. More recently seen in the fashion biopic Coco before Chanel, Tautou’s alluring persona continues to enchant film fans worldwide despite her apparent reluctance to stray far from French speaking films.
Known for her more left field choices when picking her roles, Gainsbourg has starred in an array of weird and wonderful films that have the tendency to push her boundaries to the limits, especially when working with controversial directors such as Von Trier. Neither Antichrist or Melancholia are for the faint-hearted but those unsettled by her more downbeat films should seek out her performance in Michel Gondry’s The Science of Sleep, as its captivating storyline is guaranteed to leave you spellbound.
Fresh from his Oscar win, Dujardin seems to be on an unstoppable rise and first came to our attention with his entertaining performances in the OSS 117 films which will surely increase in popularity following on from his heartbreaking turn as George Valentin in The Artist. Dujardin encapsulated the spirit of a silent actor so perfectly in The Artist and I can only hope that his time in the limelight is not short-lived. He is the perfect example of a French actor at the top of his game and if Dujardin makes the right choices in the next few months he will surely be destined for great things.
Only just missing out on an Oscar for her role in The Artist, Bejo still managed to wow audiences everywhere with her stunning performance as Peppy Miller that channeled the very best of silent movies and will hopefully inspire a new generation of cinemagoers to venture back in time to experience the classics from the golden age of cinema. Let’s hope she continues to impress in future roles as Bejo could go very far indeed and will surely be in the minds of numerous casting directors in the next few months.
Appearing in Tarantino’s most recent opus Inglourious Basterds was a surefire way for Melanie to begin her transition from French actress to an international star and her appearance in Beginners has cemented her reputation as a versatile actor. Laurent has also worked behind the camera as a director and only last year released her debut album proving that she is one of the most hard-working actresses to come out of France in the past few years.
Another Oscar winner, Cotillard left a lasting impression on audiences following her awe-inspiring turn as Edith Piaf in the sensational biopic La Vie en Rose. She has successfully made a name for herself in Hollywood and continues to appear in an eclectic mix of films. Falling in with Nolan’s roster of exceptionally talented actors was a wise move and following her remarkable turn in Inception she is due to grace our screens this Summer in what will undoubtedly be one of the season’s most anticipated blockbusters, The Dark Knight Rises.
There are numerous other actors and actresses such as Vanessa Paradis and Eva Green that are going from strength to strength, and with this constant influx of incredibly talented French film stars to Hollywood the future is looking bright for the French film industry.
Here is an exclusive clip from Birdsong…
Birdsong will be available on Blu-ray and Dvd from 12th March courtesy of Universal Playback
About The Author – Tom Bielby
Long time film fan and aspiring film writer, Tom is a horror fanatic who wasted far too much time at University sitting through every film in the IMDB Top 250. He is partial to foreign films and cult cinema and would love to rid the world of people who rustle their popcorn during important scenes. He can be found on Twitter under the alias @filmbantha
Are there any other countries which currently offer such an exciting range of promising actors? Please share your thoughts with us below.