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Straight From Europe: The Next Great Hollywood Beauty
Posted August 11, 2010 to photo album "Straight From Europe: The Next Great Hollywood Beauty"
Anton Corbijn’s The American will give Americans the chance to discover two European actress: Italy’s Violante Placido and Dutch actress Thekla Reuten. They are only the latest in string of European discoveries.
Slide 10: Audrey Tatou - The Fresh French Face
France’s Audrey Tatou was noticed as a promising newcomer with her first picture, Tonie Marshall’s 1999 film, Venus Beauty Institute. Two years later, her awestruck face on the poster for Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s international hit Ameliewould make her a gigantic star. The film’s winning mood of indomitable good cheer charmed critics and audiences. Roger Ebert called her “a fresh-faced waif who looks like she knows a secret and can’t keep it.” Lisa Nissellson in Variety called her “a delight to watch and root for,” and in the New York Times, Elvis Mitchell wrote that Tatou “has the innocent vitality of a silent film star.” Perhaps as a reaction to such early typecasting, Tatou has resisted further roles reprising her wide-eyed innocence. Since that iconic role, Tatou has chosen her parts cannily, not doing the deluge of pictures so many rapidly rising actresses sign on to. In Stephen Frears’ 2002 British film Dirty Pretty Things, she played a Turkish maid caught up in an organ smuggling scheme. In A Very Long Engagement, she won a Cesar Award reuniting with Jeunet in a World War 1 epic. In America, she starred opposite Tom Hanks as a French cryptographer in Ron Howard’s adaptation of the international best seller The Da Vinci Code. But it would be require a return to France for Tatou to make the kind of impact she did with Amelie. She won another Cesar playing one of the most famous women in 20th century France, the designer Coco Chanel, in Anne Fontaine’s Coco Before Chanel. For the critic Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle, the two roles were almost bookends for this subtle and extraordinarily empathetic actress. He wrote, “Though Amelie established her in America as a whimsical zany, Audrey Tautou's essence as an actress has always had much more to do with melancholy, a kind of systemic sadness born of an innate capacity for unvarnished observation. Tautou's dark eyes always seem to see the truth of things, and in Coco Before Chanel, she finds her ideal role, playing a woman whose direct gaze took in and understood everything - from the desperation of her own situation to the ridiculousness of women's styles at the turn of the 20th century.”