Fabulous French Film stars: our round up of the best French Actresses
The shining stars of the film industry will descend on the south of France when the Cannes Film Festival 2011 takes place between the 11th – 23rd May 2011. So get ready for the glitz, the glamour and of course: the gossip!
World famous actor and director Robert DeNiro will be taking on the role of President of the Jury, the head of the committee which decides which films will receive a Cannes award. While Woody Allen’s hotly anticipated Midnight in Paris will open the festival on the 11th May, with screenings of the Pirates of the Carribbean: On Stranger Tides, Mel Gibson’s The Beaver, The Tree of Life staring Brad Pitt and the eagerly anticipated Lars von Trier’s Melancholia.
In celebration of the most prestigious film festival of the year we’ve pulled together a list of the best French actresses. Those fabulous female stars of the big screen who have the talent, style, and that ‘je ne sais quoi’ to put them on every director’s wish-list, from big Hollywood blockbusters to intense independent films.
But if you’re wondering why we’ve neglected the male stars of the French film industry from our list… Never fear! Our top French actors are here.
For those wanting to experience the glamour of Cannes first hand, Pierre & Vacances have a selection of self-catering accommodation in Cannes to provide a great base for festivals fans.
Juliette Binoche – The leading lady
You’ll know her from: epic The English Patient and the hunger inducing Chocolat.
What’s her story? Juliette shot into the limelight in 1988’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being and since then has appeared in more than 40 feature films, showing she can hold her own alongside some of the most charismatic leading men, from Johnny Depp and Jude Law, to Ralph Fiennes and Steve Carrell. In 1996 she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role of Hana in The English Patient, and was nominated for both Best Actress Oscar and BAFTA awards in 2001 for her role of Vianne in Chocolat.
Did you know? Juliette posed for French Playboy in November 2007 aged 43! Ooh la la!
Brigitte Bardot – the sensuous icon
You’ll know her from: bank robbing Bonnie in Bonnie and Clyde, caught between two men in Two Weeks in September, singing revolutionary in Viva Maria and a movie star with persistent fans in A Very Private Affair.
What’s her story? Brigitte’s name has become synonymous with everything chic, beautiful and French. She burst onto movie screens in French film Le Trou Normand and then kicked off her Hollywood career in Un acte d’amour with Kirk Douglas. Since then she has become the icon for everything sensuous and elegant. As well as acting in 47 films, Brigitte was named among Empire Magazine’s Top 100 Sexiest Film Stars of all time.
Did you know? Brigitte is a fierce animal rights advocate with her own charity: Fondation Brigitte Bardot. In 1994 she published an open letter to Sophia Loren criticising her for appearing in adverts wearing fur.
Watch her next in: Brigitte retired aged 39 ‘as a way to get out elegantly’.
Vanessa Paradis – the independent spirit
You’ll know her from: romantic comedy Heartbreakers, the voice of Florence in the French release of The Magic Roundabout and the girl on the bridge in The Girl on the Bridge.
What’s her story? Not just Johnny Depp’s other half; Vanessa Paradis is an established and talented actress, singer/songwriter and model in her own right. She burst into the entertainment scene aged 14 with her hit single Joe Le Taxi and won a César for her first film role as a troubled teenager in Noce Blanche. Since then she has released nine albums and 14 feature films playing on her kooky charm and interesting beauty for intriguing parts.
Did you know? Vanessa is the face and ‘lips’ for Channel lipstick Rouge Coco.
Audrey Tautou – the character actress
You’ll know her from: the delightful Amelie, blockbuster The Da Vinci Code, romantic thriller A Very Long Engagement, and playing iconic Coco Chanel in sumptous fashion feature Coco avant Chanel.
What’s her story? Audrey’s first breakthrough role was as Marie in Tonie Marshall’s romantic comedy Venus Beauty Salon for which she won a César for Best New Actress. Perhaps more importantly, it was a billboard for that film which caught the eye of Amelie director Jean-Pierre Jeunet and landed her the title role which catapulted her into the A list. Since then her fragile charm and spirited performances have made her a firm favourite with directors, from the blockbusting Ron Howard [The DaVinci Code] to cult favourite Stephen Frears [High Fedelity].
Did you know? Audrey is named after renowned actress Audrey Hepburn.
Marion Cotillard– The leading lady
You’ll know her from: Leonardo DiCaprio’s haunting wife in Inception, Russel Crowe’s love interest in A Good Year, Daniel Day Lewis’ long suffering wife in musical Nine, iconic singer Édith Piaf in La Vie en Rose
What’s her story? Marion made her big screen debut at the age of 19 in the French film L’historie du garcon qui voulait qu’on l’embasse, roles in Taxi, Les jolies Choses, with her first ever English role in Tim Burton’s Big Fish soon followed. Her 2007 role as legendary French singer Édith Piaf earnt her a Best Actress Oscar, only the second ever given to an actress in a foreign language film. She is rumoured to be taking her French glamour to an undisclosed roll in Christopher Nolan’s latest Batman film.
Did you know? Marion is a supporter of the English football club Leeds United, who caught her attention during Eric Cantona’s spell at the club in the early 1990s.
Eva Green – The femme fatale
You’ll know her from: Breaking James Bond’s heart in Casino Royale, the object of Orlando Bloom’s affection in Kingdom of Heaven and witch queen Serafina Pekkala The Golden Compass,
What’s her story? Eva, who has been described as ‘so beautiful it’s indecent’, began her acting career in Parisian theatre where she caught the eye of director Bernardo Bertolucci who cast her in her first film role in romantic drama The Dreamers. As well as steeling the screen from leading men Orlando Bloom, Daniel Craig and Romain Duris, Eva is also the face for French labels Lancôme and Christian Dior.
Did you know? Eva has a non-identical twin sister.