Isabelle Adjani photo

Isabelle Adjani

Birth name:
Isabelle Jasmine Adjani
Date of Birth:
27 June 1955 Paris, France
Height:
5' 4¼" (1.63 m)
Isabelle Adjani, one of the most talented and accomplished actresses in the history of French and world cinema, was born on June 27, 1955 in Paris, France in the 17th Arrondissement, a working class neighborhood on the Right Bank of the Seine. She and her younger brother Eric were raised by her ethnic Algerian father and ethnic German mother in Gennevilliers in the Hauts-de-Seine department, an industrial city located near to and to the northwest of Paris. She started acting before her teen years, appearing in amateur theater by the time she was 12 years old and in her first movie at the age of 14. It all started in 1969, at the Courbevoie school, when she was discovered by the assistant of the director - Michel Bernard Toublanc who offered her the leading role of his film Le Petit Bougnat. At that time, Isabelle lived quietly with her family in Gennevilliers. She wanted to take a degree in psychology and believed that cinema was a parallel activity holiday. But fate decided otherwise, when in 1971, Nina Companeez proposed her for Faustine et le Bel Été. Henceforth Isabelle thought only about theater and soon after enrolled at the famous Parisian drama art course Le Cours Florent. She was cast for a very nice TV series: Le Secret des Flamands, where she played a young Renaissance Florentine, she was then spotted by Robert Hossein who hired her for The House of Bernarda by Federico Garcia Lorca. The piece was a triumph, and defied all the French Theater rules as Isabelle was the first actor to join the Comédie Française despite being under 18 and without coming from the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts (where an actor should pass the obligatory entry examination of the Comédie Française after a 3 year study and upon graduation from the Conservatoire). This event was a first.The teenage Adjani, already a great beauty, appeared with the Comédie Française France's premier theater, where she played the roles of Agnes in The School of Women and Marianne in Moliere's L'Avare (The Miser), and that of Sister Marie-Francoise in Port Royal by Montherlant, and the wonderful Ondine in Jean Giraudoux's play Ondine (1975) (TV), where she scored a great success while she was 17 (she repeated the performance on TV in 1974). But she rejected the exceptional twenty-year contract that had been proposed to her in 1974, left the Comédie Française (after being repeatedly told that she would regret it for the rest of her life) and returned to the cinema to film what would prove to be her cinematic breakthrough La gifle (1974), (The Slapping) with Claude Pinoteau where she played Lino Ventura's adolescent daughter. The film was awarded the Prix Louis Delluc and Isabelle received the Prix Suzanne Bianchetti. Also that year, she played the title role in French cinema great Francois Truffaut's Histoire d'Adèle H., L' (1975) ("The Story of Adele H."), a biographical film about Victor Hugo's daughter. The role brought her her first Best Actress nominations from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and from the French Academy (the Oscar and César, respectively).Her beauty and talent made her an international star, and the multilingual Adjani has performed in English and German language films as well as in her native French tongue. She garnered the Cannes Film Festival's Best Actress Award for her English-language role in James Ivory's film Quartet (1981) in 1991, then won the first of her four record Césars the next year for Possession (1981), which was directed by her then-lover (and father of her first child) Andrzej Zulawski. She won her second Cé in 1983 for her role in L'été meurtrier (1983) ("One Deadly Summer" (1983)) and her third for playing French sculptor Camille Claudel (1988) in the eponymous film. That role also brought her her second Best Actress Oscar nomination (the film, which was produced by her own production company, also was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar). She won her record fifth César for _La journée de la jupe (2009). This last film represented the high-water mark of her career.The legendary Adjani has appeared in only five movies since "La Reine Margot" (and only 24 movies altogether since "Adele H."), being last seen on screen in 2003 in two films: the female lead in Bon voyage (2003) and a cameo in Monsieur Ibrahim et les fleurs du Coran (2003). As Adjani explained after quitting the Comédie Française a generation ago, work is not her consuming passion. In the past decade, she has devoted most of her time to her private life, including raising her two children, Barnabé Nuytten and Gabriel-Kane Adjani (born 1995), her son fathered by former lover Daniel Day-Lewis.
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