21 October 2008

Field Guide: Sandrine Bonnaire

Hitchcock blonde? Bonnaire, in Confidences trop intimes

Another very beautiful actress, Sandrine Bonnaire got an early start (the lead in Agnès Varda’s Vagabond), Bonnaire may be following the example of Simone Signoret and Jeanne Moreau by aging fearlessly. She’s still slim and barely 40, but look — she’s got crow’s feet! And darn it, she still looks great. What’s more, the openness and brilliance of her smile serve her in a variety of roles: her characters often begin with goodwill toward all — until somebody pushes them too far.

With Marina Foïs, in Un coeur simple

Highly intelligent offscreen, Bonnaire plays naïve beautifully: her gradual revelations of toughness or savvy lend extra interest, even mystery, to her films. She made banality terrifying in Claude Chabrol’s La Cérémonie, opposite the more overt Isabelle Huppert; she struck plausibly Hitchockian notes in Patrice Lecomte’s Confidences trop intimes (Intimate Strangers), in which nothing turns out as expected. Recently, she starred as one of Flaubert’s most curious creations, the simpleminded housemaid Félicité in Un coeur simple, and she directed a well-received documentary, Elle s'appelle Sabine, about her sister, treated (not always gently) for what was diagnosed as autism. She seems remarkably well-poised to benefit from French cinema’s liberality toward leading ladies: plenty of important pictures are made here starring women over 30, and opportunities exist for actresses to bring their talents to other fields, such as screenwriting and direction.

With my beloved Catherine Frot in L’empreinte de l’ange,
An autumn 2008 release I haven’t seen!

No comments: