Isabelle Huppert is one of the greatest actors of her generation, full stop. She has emblazoned her stamp onto the landscape of world cinema with the two characteristics that define her career: first, an unshakeable commitment to the visions of her directors (and an uncanny ability to discern the ones worth committing to); and second, an unflagging fearlessness, an irrepressible commitment to baring her soul on screen in the most vulnerable and incendiary of fashions. This series pays tribute to her fiery performances and unforgettable screen presence with a selection of 10 of her greatest performances. She has to be seen to be believed.
(Claude Goretta, 1977) · Imported print! The Lacemaker is a story of a shy young woman throttled by a fast-paced France. Béatrice, a reserved hair stylist, ventures out with her only friend Marylène for a vacation by the sea at Cabourg. Marylène quickly meets a man and apathetically abandons Béatrice. Disconcerted and confused by the youth culture around her, the lonely Béatrice keeps to herself until a wealthy young man offers to bring her into his world.
runtime: 107m format: 35mm
(Michael Cimino, 1980) · Written and directed by titan of New Hollywood Michael Cimino, Heaven's Gate spins an epic myth out of America's expansion to the west and the bloody conflicts that ensue. Huppert stars as a no-nonsense bordello madam who becomes entangled with Kris Kristofferson, a Harvard graduate who moves out west. One of the most ambitious epics Hollywood has ever produced, this terminally misunderstood film bankrupted its studio with lavish production costs, and has been reclaimed in recent years as a masterpiece.
runtime: 217m format: DCP
(Maurice Pialat, 1980) · Starring two of the biggest stars that French cinema has yet produced, Loulou is a full-scale assault on the structures of bourgeois society. Huppert plays Nelly, a dissatisfied housewife who meets a thief (Gérard Depardieu). Pialat's naturalistic style helps their unbridled physicality burst forth, leading Andrew Sarris to declare Loulou "a masterpiece of subtlety and eroticism. Depardieu and Huppert just happen to be the sexiest couple in the history of the cinema."
runtime: 110m format: DCP
(Jean-Luc Godard, 1980) · After their breakup sets them adrift, a filmmaker named Paul Godard (Jacques Dutronc) and a writer, Denise (Nathalie Baye), adjust to life without each other. While Denise gets a full-time job at a newspaper, Paul bums around, brooding about nameless fear and asking his daughter's soccer coach obscene questions. After over a decade of making low-budget avant-garde films, Godard's "second first film" saw him return to the (relative) mainstream, while still exploring uncharted stylistic territory.
runtime: 87m format: 35mm
(Hal Hartley, 1994) · Huppert plays an ex-nun and aspiring pornography writer living in New York, undeterred by her self-professed inexperience. After encountering Thomas, a victim of amnesia, she becomes entangled in the vengeful scheme of his wife (a pornography actress) that aims to take down their perverse boss. Hal Hartley, an icon of American indie cinema and forerunner to Wes Anderson, brings his signature droll and deadpan style to this endlessly surprising tale of crime and sorrow in the Metropolis.
runtime: 105m format: 35mm
(David O. Russell, 2004) · The star-studded I Heart Huckabees features Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin as "existential detectives" hired to investigate the meaning of life for their clients. They lend their services to an environmentalist named Albert (Wes Anderson favorite Jason Schwartzman), but their search soon creates difficulties with their other clients (Jude Law, Mark Wahlberg, and Naomi Watts). Huppert stars as the pair's nefarious nemesis, who attempts to influence their clients with her own philosophy on the meaning of life.
runtime: 107m format: 35mm
(François Ozon, 2002) · François Ozon's star-studded pastiche of the history of cinema, 8 Women brings together eight women in an isolated and snowed-in cottage in rural France. When the master of the house is found dead with a knife in his back, each of them becomes a suspect. 8 Women blends satire, melodrama, musical, and murder mystery with a head-spinning cast of French superstars (including Deneuve, Darrieux, and Ledoyen), and Huppert garnering special praise for her performance.
runtime: 118m format: 35mm
(Claire Denis, 2009) · This fierce drama by the great Claire Denis grapples with the lasting reverberations of European colonialism in the present day. Huppert plays the ferocious white owner of a coffee plantation in Africa, who refuses to give up her family estate even as a civil war threatens to consume it. Herself raised as a child in the African colonies, Denis is (admiringly) described by Barry Jenkins as someone who "truly just doesn't give a shit...who has not one question about what her rights are as a storyteller."
runtime: 106m format: 35mm
(Hong Sang-soo, 2012) · A young screenwriter working by the seaside dreams up three scenarios in this vignette style film. Huppert stars as the woman in the screenwriter's imagination, and in each vignette she adopts a new role: a filmmaker, a lover of a filmmaker, and a recent divorcee seeking enlightenment. Hong's precise and geometrically structured narrative causes the lines between fiction and reality to blur in fascinating ways, as this breezy coastal tale reveals itself as something more mysterious.
runtime: 89m format: DCP
(Mia Hansen-Løve, 2016) · Things To Come features Huppert as a passionate middle-aged philosophy professor named Nathalie. When her carefully curated life is thrown into disarray, Nathalie finds herself searching for new meaning at a time when fresh options seem to be a foregone conclusion. In the words of Nick Pinkerton, "Things to Come is concerned with someone cobbling together a usable future out of the diminished possibilities left before them. It is, in other words, defiantly adult."
runtime: 102m format: DCP