Friday, October 13, 2006

Isabelle Huppert

Anurag writes about my favourite movie actress Isabelle Huppert.

I recently saw this book at a bookstore. It's a collection of her photographs taken by some world-famous photographers. These are some of the most beautiful and haunting portraits I have seen. From the description on Amazon:

This most mysterious of actresses likes to be photographed but she is not an easy subject. She offers herself to the eye of the camera yet remains secretive, almost absent. The great photographers of our time—Richard Avedon, Edouard Boubat, Guy Bourdin, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Elliot Erwitt, Lartigues, Annie Leibovitz, Steven Meisel, Helmut Newton, Sylvia Plachy, Marc Riboud, and Scavullo—took up the challenge. Huppert’s energy and strength are often shrouded behind a kind of melancholy, and these photographers have captured beautifully that contradictory quality. Not only a collection of gorgeous images, this haunting book also unveils the bond between the public image and the secret soul of this unique woman.

The book also contains essays by the late Susan Sontag (the book contains photographs by her friend and partner Annie Leibowitz too), Nobel laureate Elifriede Jelinek and Serge Toubina, who is the director of Paris Cinematheque and former editor-in-chief of cahiers du cinema.

Here is a small photo gallery. Thank You, Anurag.


anurag said...

Thanks for linking and commenting generously :)

Till you buy the book, you can look into some of her photographs here .

I need to see at least some of her films with Claude Chabrol.

How did you like Le Ceremonie, or how did you like her in the film.

Alok said...

quid pro quo? hehehe :)

La Ceremonie has another french actress Sandrine Bonnaire, who is terrific too. It is a great film, though you might be frustrated by Chabrol's style. His style is extremely apsychological. He refuses to "explain" or even give a hint about why the characters are behaving the way they are. Of course actresses like huppert will relish that uncertainty and you can feel that in her acting. It is hitchcock minus freud.

My favourite chabrol-huppert collaboration is Une Affaire de femmes. It is a chilling melodrama, a social polemic and a dark romance. It will disturb and make you question your position even if you are pro- or ant- abortion. It is a magnificent film.

I have seem Merci Pour le Chocolat too but didn't really care for that one. She was the only good thing in the film.

I have to see madame bovary. I am surprised I haven't seen it yet.

thanks for the link to photo gallery.

Alok said...

Roger Ebert explains it very well:

It is the unique ability of Isabelle Huppert to betray almost nothing to the camera, when she chooses to. Some of the best moments in her performances come when she regards the camera as if daring us to guess what she is thinking. This quality is indispensable to the character she plays in Claude Chabrol's "Story of Women," because the story is based on the mystery of what she really thinks and feels.

anurag said...

hehe, the whole commenting business is quid pro quo ;)

La Ceremonie is in too see list for long. some idiot has rented it but not returning it !

more in next comment, I have to do three :)

Alok said...

Don't make us look like fools, will you?

Here is another article about a play she starred in. The whole text is actually a suicide note. Something tailor-made for her to play I think! I wonder if it will ever be available on a DVD :(

As for the difficult subject matter, Huppert sees it as not simply bleak. "The attraction to death is the reverse of this incredible hunger for life," she observes. "It's an awareness of how difficult it is to fulfill the desire for life. The play constantly plays on these contradictions, which is why I like this idea of dying standing, because in a way that's what she does: She dies alive."

Alok said...

Sorry, the link to the article here.

anurag said...

ok, I will try :)

Do you know, Haneke offered her Funny Games, before 'The Piano Teacher'.

Have you read this interview.

Alok said...

Yes, I knew that about Funny Games. She felt the film was too "theoretical," which is I think not true. It might have appeared so from the script. Anyway, I think the German actress in that movie was unbelievably good too. I am waiting to see what Naomi Watts does in the English version of the film.

I hadn't read that interview. thanks!