Isabelle Huppert Photoshoot for Acne Paper Fall + Isabelle Huppert: ‘I don’t have a reputation for being difficult’
Isabelle Huppert was born in 1953, in Paris, France, but spent her childhood in Ville d’Avray. Encouraged by her mother (who was a teacher of English), she followed the Conservatory of Versailles and won an acting prize for her work in Alfred de Musset’s “Un caprice”. She then studied at the Conservatoire d’Art Dramatique and followed an illustrious theatrical career, which includes Ivan Turgenev’s “A Month in the Country”, Euripides’ “Medea” (title role) etc. She made her movie debut in 1971 and soon became one of the top actresses of her generation, giving fine performances in important films, like Claude Goretta’s The Lacemaker (1977), as a simple-minded girl who falls in love with – and is betrayed by – a student, Jean-Luc Godard’s Every Man for Himself (1980), as a prostitute, and Maurice Pialat’s Loulou (1980), as an upper-class woman who is physically attracted by a young vagabond. She made her US debut playing a brothel madam in Michael Cimino’s disastrous Heaven’s Gate (1980) and has an extremely productive collaboration with Claude Chabrol, who cast her in several movies, including Violette (1978), in which she played a young woman who murders her parents, and Story of Women (1988), in which she gave an excellent performance as a shameless abortionist, the last woman to be executed in France. More recent good films include Patricia Mazuy’s The King’s Daughters (2000) and Michael Haneke’s controversial The Piano Teacher (2001), as a sexually repressed piano teacher.
Isabelle Huppert: ‘I don’t have a reputation for being difficult’
That article, which appeared in Paris Match in 2004, was by the novelist and film-maker François Weyergans. A great artist in his own right, he is sometimes described as the Belgian Woody Allen. I bumped into Weyergans at a party, while he was assembling his Huppert piece – which remains, by some distance, the most insightful thing ever written about her. When I asked him how it was going, he gave me a look I can still remember: a peculiar mixture of fascination and despair.
Isabelle Huppert – a national icon and one of the greatest film actors France has ever produced – enjoys another, more global, reputation; as one of the most stubbornly guarded interviewees of all time. There are people who are more secretive – Brigitte Bardot and Neil Armstrong come to mind – but, generally speaking, such characters have the decency never to go out. The trouble with Huppert is that she does, just occasionally, agree to surface.
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Isabelle Huppert Photoshoot for Acne Paper Fall