I’ve stumbled rather late onto a cinema meme where people write about their twenty favourite actresses. I first read about it here. It’s the perfect topic for me to write about because I am rather obsessed and I spend a lot of time scouring the SBS guide for films featuring my favourites, which are listed here in no particular order. I have expanded on the meme by listing the films that have informed my choices like this example.

grid where my heart lies: the 20 favourite actresses meme

Juliette Binoche – achingly beautiful in her early films Mauvais Sang and Rendez-vous. Unforgettable in The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Astonishing in Les Amants du Pont-Neuf, Trois couleurs Bleu, Damage and The English Patient. Wonderfully funny in the otherwise average Décalage horaire. Recent films Breaking and Entering, Dan in Real Life and Quelques jours en Septembre demonstrate how cool and verstile she is.

binoche where my heart lies: the 20 favourite actresses meme

Romane Bohringer – the first film I saw her in was Les Nuits Fauves and it remains a special favourite. She’s intense, unsettling and histrionic. She’s delightful in L’Accompagnatrice, Mina Tannenbaum and L’Appartement. Superb in the intriguing Total Eclipse and hysterically funny in He Died with a Felafel in His Hand.

bohringer where my heart lies: the 20 favourite actresses meme

Amira Casar – savagely impossibly sexy. Sweet as the earnest young lesbian in Pourquoi pas moi? Captivating in Anatomie de l’Enfer. Excellent in Transylvania and Peindre ou faire l’Amour.

casar where my heart lies: the 20 favourite actresses meme

Emmanuelle Devos – so beautiful and expressive. Adorable in Gentille and excellent in Sur mes Lévres and Rois et Reine.

devos where my heart lies: the 20 favourite actresses meme

Audrey Tautou – before Le Fabuleux destin d’Amèlie Poulain I was enchanted by her in Le Libertin and Vénus beauté (institut). She’s wonderful in Voyous Voyelles, Le Battement d’ailes du Papillon, Dieu est grand, je suis toute Petite, Dirty Pretty Things and Un long Dimanche de Fiançailles and witty in Hors de Prix.

tautou where my heart lies: the 20 favourite actresses meme

Isabelle Huppert – specialises in transgressive sex and cold intensity. Famous for La Pianiste and frightening in Ma Mére. Very funny in I Heart Huckabees and 8 Femmes. Perfect in Après l’Amour and La Sèparation.

huppert where my heart lies: the 20 favourite actresses meme

Valeria Bruni Tedeschi – specialises in sadness. She’s beautifully unhappy in Un Couple Parfait, Le Temps qui reste and 5×2.

tedeschi where my heart lies: the 20 favourite actresses meme

Isabelle Adjani – does everything from comedy in Bon voyage to blood, lots of blood, in Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht and La Reine Margot. Wonderful in the biographical Camille Claudel and the ridiculous Subway. Fucks a very young Sam Neill as he turns into a lizard in Possession.

adjani where my heart lies: the 20 favourite actresses meme

Helena Bonham Carter – my favourite pixie goth princess. Became known for costume dramas due to her exquisite performance in A Room with a View, but she also played a messy contemporary young woman around the same time in Getting it Right. Intense and engaging in Fight Club and Novocaine. Adorable in Conversations with other Women.

carter where my heart lies: the 20 favourite actresses meme

Gina McKee – has the most beautiful voice; I could listen to her all day. Magical in “The Forsyte Saga” and Wonderland.

mckee where my heart lies: the 20 favourite actresses meme

Emily Mortimer – subtle and tender in some complicated and confronting roles. Fantastic in Lovely and Amazing, Bright Young Things, Young Adam (particularly the custard scene) and Lars and the Real Girl.

mortimer where my heart lies: the 20 favourite actresses meme

Kristin Scott Thomas – great comic timing and dramatic style. Watch Bitter Moon and Four Weddings and a Funeral back to back to see what I mean. Heartbreaking in The English Patient. Glamorously decadent in Gosford Park and Arséne Lupin.

scotthomas where my heart lies: the 20 favourite actresses meme

Martina Gedeck – famous now for Das Leben der Anderen. I already knew her from Bella Martha and the devastating Sommer ’04.

gedeck where my heart lies: the 20 favourite actresses meme

Franka Potente – fabulous, devious and delicious in Lola rennt, Anatomie, Der Krieger und die Kaiserin, Blueprint and Romulus, My Father.

potente where my heart lies: the 20 favourite actresses meme

Natsassja Kinski – the star of the 1980s. Amazing language skills – speaks English, French, Italian and German. Wonderful in the tragic Tess. Gentle in Maria’s Lovers. Infinitely sexy in Cat People. Mesmerising in La Lune dans le Caniveau, Paris, Texas, Il Sole anche di Notte and One Night Stand. Sweet and funny in The Hotel New Hampshire and Terminal Velocity.

kinski where my heart lies: the 20 favourite actresses meme

Ariadna Gil – utterly tempting in Belle Epoque. Tough in Libertarias. Sweet in Mécaniques Célestes. Sultry in La Virgen de la Lujuria.

gil where my heart lies: the 20 favourite actresses meme

Penélope Cruz – delectable in Jamón, Jamón and Belle Epoque. At her best in Pedro Almodóvar’s Todo sobre mi madre, Carne trémula and Volver. Excellent in Blow, La Niña de tus ojos and Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

cruz where my heart lies: the 20 favourite actresses meme

Maria de Madeiros – wonderfully sensuous as Anaïs Nin in Henry and June. Listening to her voice makes me dizzy. Perfectly cast in Huevos de Oro but wasted in Pulp Fiction.

medeiros where my heart lies: the 20 favourite actresses meme

Monica Bellucci – seductive as a vampire in Bram Stoker’s Dracula and a Vatican assassin in Le Pacte des Loups. Stunning in L’ Appartement and deliciously tart in Astérix & Obélix: Mission Cléopâtre. Brave in the tragic Malèna and the traumatic Irréversible.

bellucci where my heart lies: the 20 favourite actresses meme

Valeria Golino – known for small parts in many American films, her best work is in Italian, including Respiro. In English, see Torrents of Spring, Immortal Beloved and Year of the Gun. She’s briefly in 36 Quai des Orfèvres. I’ve seen more of her earlier Italian films on SBS (Australian television station that specialises in foreign content) but I can’t remember their names. She’s fabulous.

golino where my heart lies: the 20 favourite actresses meme

where my heart lies: the 20 favourite actresses meme

6 thoughts on “where my heart lies: the 20 favourite actresses meme

  • 25 January 2009 at 12:56 am
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    Wow, you definitely have a type! :)

    My favourites in your list: Monica Bellucci and Romane Bohringer (both at their best/hottest in L’Appartement), Audrey Tautou, Emmanuelle Devos (esp in Sur mes Levres), Maria de Madeiros in Henry and June, Valeria Golino in Respiro.

    Have you seen Helena Bonham Carter in Wings of the Dove and Kristin Scott Thomas in Il y a longtemps que je t’aime? Both brilliant performances.

    If we’re talking European actresses though, I’d have to also include Emmanuelle Beart, Laura Morante and Giovanna Mezzogiorno on my list!

    Reply
    • 25 January 2009 at 9:40 am
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      I think I have seen Wings of the Dove and Il y a longtemps que je t’aime is next on the list to see. There were many I had to drop to get down to 20 – Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Rossy de Palma, Paz Vega, Anna Mouglalis, Famke Janssen, Virginie Ledoyen, Olivia Bonamy, Emmanuelle Siegner, Elsa Zylberstein, Elodi Bouchez, Beatrice Dalle, Shirley Henderson, Kate Winslet, Emily Watson, Winona Ryder, Parker Posey, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Catherine Keener. Emmanuelle Beart could never be on the list because she gave herself horrible fake breasts and a trout mouth!

      Reply
  • 25 January 2009 at 12:08 pm
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    Agreed that Emmanuelle Beart butchered herself with those awful fake breasts, lips and botox forehead. It’s the same thing with Monica Bellucci, alas – it was painful to see how her entirely unnecessary cosmetic surgery has distorted her boobs and face in Manuale d’Amore 2 and Sanguepazzo.

    Yay on the Shirley Henderson love too! :)

    Reply
    • 25 January 2009 at 2:32 pm
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      Did Bellucci really do fake breasts? I remember one film where she looked really odd and they used strange shots to hide her breasts, but in recent photos she looks natural – or so I thought? If so, she’s off the list!

      Reply
  • 8 December 2009 at 10:10 pm
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    Winona Ryder Brian? Why, oh why? In Heathers I made the first film mistake of thinking she and Christian Slater could act. Alas no…

    Reply
    • 8 December 2009 at 10:34 pm
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      What’s acting got to do with it? I thought we were discussing hotness :-)

      Reply

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