She sits on the balcony outside a hotel suite at the Cannes Film Festival and smokes a cigarette and looks very serious. I have met a lot of French actresses, and two things they are very good at is smoking cigarettes and looking serious. Not many of them look this good while they are doing it.
This is, of course, true, but it is not why I am interviewing her, so I will try not to mention it too much. I, though, do not have to bother with that. The movie, then.
She is French. More than that, she is a French actress who appears in the types of art-house films people either love or hate. She first came to public attention when, aged 23, she starred as the vengeful goatherd in the extraordinarily popular Manon des Sources.
Those lips about which I have been advised to ask no questions - certainly none with the word "collagen" in them. She inhales sharply, exhales poutingly and then turns to face me across the table at her publicist's Paris flat. But she might also be talking about herself. She looks like porcelain, with her long, thin, elegant neck, slender figure and large grey-blue eyes.
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ArnaudMission: Impossible and 8 Women In her late teens she spent her summer vacation with the English-speaking family of a close friend of her father in Montreal. They have remained close friends.
The front door leads straight into the living room, where there are functional sofas, a large television, a few paintings on the wall but no pictures of the actress, no signs of ostentatious living. It looks more like the home of a French prof than the domain of a screen siren. She comes in without making an entrance, dressed in faded blue jeans tucked into fleecy suede boots, a pink camisole under a simple dusky cardigan.
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Many moviegoers will want to see this film as an old fashioned psychological study of character - to explain Stephane's refusal of love as the natural outcome of his neurotic hang-ups. Sautet has invited such speculation by making a film which is like one of those figures in elementary psychology textbooks. Viewed one way you see a vase, viewed another way you see two witches; it is virtually impossible to see witches and vase at the same time.