Isabelle Anne Madeleine Huppert. What a lovely name. She is France’s national treasure. There are many exceptional French actresses: Isabelle Adjani, Fanny Ardant, Catherine Deneuve, Marion Cotillard, Juliette Binoche and Sandrine Bonnaire, to name a few. But Huppert, renowned for the startling diversity of her roles and her sang-froid in front of the camera, stands apart. In some ways she reminds me of one of my favorite American actresses, Holly Hunter.
They’re both tiny and packed with talent. Huppert was born in Paris on March 16, 1953 and Hunter in Georgia, USA on March 20, 1958. Between them they’ve won a ton of awards and worked in film and on the stage. Both are enormously prolific.
Whereas Hunter is bubbly, open and direct (I love her Southern accent), Huppert is cool, guarded and cerebal.
In 2016, Isabelle Huppert starred in two films – Things to Come (an intelligent and moving account of a philosophy teacher spiralling through a series of personal crises) and a drama-thriller titled Elle (the successful CEO of a video game company tries to learn the identity of the man who raped her.) In Elle, the unexpected fallout of a brutal rape committed against Michele (Huppert) unfolds in the film’s shocking opening scenes.
And despite the film’s continued violence against women, Huppert believes that the so-called “post-feminist” nature of her Michele provides a different lens through which to view the film. At the New York Film Festival late last year, here’s what Huppert had to say about her character –
“She is the result of men’s failure. I think the movie is, you can call it a woman’s film, but you can also call it a man’s film by default,” she said. “All the male figures are failed or mediocre. The husband is a bad writer. The men’s figures are weak and sort of coming off the pedestal. She is the protector of that maybe new era in a way.”
Listen to this interesting conversation – with film clips – between Huppert and Charlie Rose.
As you will see, there are lots of interesting guests and conversations on the Charlie Rose Show. I listen to them all while toiling in the kitchen.