Isabelle Adjani

Isabelle Yasmine Adjani, (born 27 June 1955) is a four-time César Award-winning and two-time Academy Award-nominated French film actress and singer. She is of Algerian-German parentage, and performs in French, English, and German.

Early life

Adjani was born in Bavaria, Germany to an Algerian father from Kabylie, Mohammed Cherif Adjani, and a German mother, Augusta Gusti. She grew up in the immigrants quarter Gennevilliers (suburbs of Paris), speaking German fluently as a first language. After winning a school recitation contest, she began acting in amateur theater by the age of twelve. At the age of 14, she starred in her first motion picture Le Petit bougnat (1970)


She first gained fame as a classical actress for her interpretation of Agnès, the main female role in Molière's L'École des femmes, but soon left the Comédie française she had joined in 1972 to pursue a movie career. After minor roles in several films, she enjoyed modest success in the 1974 film La Gifle (or The Slap). The following year, she landed her first major role in François Truffaut's The Story of Adèle H. Critics enthused over her performance, with Pauline Kael calling her acting talents "Prodigious". All this attention resulted in a nomination for the Best Actress Oscar and offers for rôles in Hollywood films, such as Walter Hill's 1978 crime thriller The Driver. She then played Lucy in Werner Herzog's 1979 remake of Nosferatu (1979) .

In 1981, Adjani received the Cannes Film Festival's best actress award for the Merchant Ivory film Quartet based on the novel by Jean Rhys, and for the horror film Possession. The following year, she received her first César Award for Possession, in which she portrays a frustrated woman going mad. In 1983, she won the César, for her depiction of a vengeful woman in the blockbuster One Deadly Summer.

In 1989, she co-produced and starred in a biopic of the tragic sculptor Camille Claudel. She received her third César and second Oscar nomination for her role in the film, which was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Following this publicity, she was chosen by People magazine as one of the '50 Most Beautiful People' in the world. Her fourth César win was for the 1994 film Queen Margot, an ensemble epic directed by Patrice Chéreau.

Personal life

Adjani has two sons: Barnabé Nuytten with Bruno Nuytten, and Gabriel-Kane Day-Lewis from her six-year relationship with Oscar-winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis. Gabriel-Kane was born in New York City in 1995, several months after her relationship with Day-Lewis ended.

Adjani was also engaged to composer Jean Michel Jarre, but they broke up publicly in 2004. In 1987, some French media outlets incorrectly reported that she was dying of AIDS, forcing her to appear on television to deny it.


Year Title Role Notes
1970 Le Petit bougnat Rose
1972 Faustine et le bel été Camille
1974 La Gifle Isabelle Doulean
1975 The Story of Adèle H. Adèle Hugo Best Actress Oscar nomination
1976 The Tenant Stella
Barocco Laure
1977 Violette & François Violette Clot
1978 The Driver The Player
1979 Nosferatu the Vampyre Lucy Harker
The Bronte Sisters Emily Brontë
1981 Clara et les Chics Types Clara
Possession Anna/Helen
Quartet Marya Zelli
L' Année prochaine... si tout va bien Isabelle
1982 Tout feu, tout flamme Pauline Valance
Antonieta Antonieta Rivas Mercado
1983 Mortelle randonnée Catherine Leiris/Lucie, 'Marie'
L' Été meurtrier Eliane dite 'Elle'
1985 Subway Héléna
1986 T'as de beaux escaliers tu sais
1987 Ishtar Shirra Assel
1988 Camille Claudel Camille Claudel Best Actress Oscar nomination
1993 Toxic Affair Pénélope
1994 La Reine Margot Margot
1996 Diabolique Mia Baran
2002 La Repentie Charlotte/Leïla
Adolphe Ellénore
2003 Bon voyage Viviane Denvers
Monsieur Ibrahim et les fleurs du Coran La star




Further reading

  • Adjani, Isabelle (1980). Isabelle Adjani in : Jean-Luc Douin (Hrsg.): Comédiennes aujourd'hui : au micro et sous le regard. Paris: Lherminier. ISBN 2-862-44 020-5
  • Austin, Guy (2003). Foreign bodies: Jean Seberg and Isabelle Adjani, S. 91-106 in: ders., Stars in Modern French Film. Londres: Arnold. ISBN 0-340-76 019-2
  • Austin, Guy (2006). Telling the truth can be a dangerous business : Isabelle Adjani, race and stardom, in : Remapping World Cinema : Identity, Culture and Politics in Film, herausgegeben von Stephanie Dennison und Song Hwee Lim, London: Wallflower Press. ISBN 1-904-76 462-2
  • Halberstadt, Michèle (2002). Adjani aux pieds nus - Journal de la repentie. Paris: Editions Calmann-Lévy. ISBN 2-702-13 293-6
  • Roques-Briscard, Christian (1987). La passion d'Adjani, Lausanne et al.: Favre. ISBN 2-828-90 279-X
  • Zurhorst, Meinolf (1992). Isabelle Adjani. Ihre Filme - Ihr Leben. Heyne Film- und Fernsehbibliothek, Band 163. München: Heyne. ISBN 3-453-05 238-2

External links

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