Intense, lithe, and passionate, Isabelle Huppert is one of cinema’s greatest actresses. A beguiling shape-shifter, she inhabits her characters, providing them with a dense, distinctive biography and a memorable presence. Her ability to make silences revelatory is astonishing. Born into a middle-class French family in 1955, Huppert studied drama and Russian, and appeared on stage in her early teens. She made her first film in 1971, and 34 years and approximately 70 films later, she has worked not only with an illustrious group of French filmmakers, including Claude Chabrol (with whom she is now shooting her sixth film) and Jean-Luc Godard, but also many of Europe’s most celebrated directors—Michael Haneke, Marta Meszaros, and Andrzej Wajda, to name a few. American filmmakers have long been fascinated by Huppert, and after appearing in Otto Preminger’s Rosebud (1974), she was offered the female lead in Michael Cimino’s epic Western Heaven’s Gate (1980). This 25-film retrospective, which opens with the American premiere of her most recent film, Gabrielle (2005), celebrates the remarkable career of an actress constantly at work on screen and stage (she will be performing at BAM in Sarah Kane’s 4:48 Psychose, October 19–30).
Organized by Laurence Kardish, Senior Curator, Department of Film and Media.