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Anouk Aimée, star of ‘La Dolce Vita’ and ‘A Man and a Lady,’ has died


In a profession spanning greater than 70 years, she starred in 74 movies and TV sequence and obtained prestigious awards. Her daughter introduced that she had died on Tuesday, June 18, aged 92.

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gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw== - Anouk Aimée, star of 'La Dolce Vita' and 'A Man and a Lady,' has died

Anouk Aimée did not like folks speaking about her age. After we met her in 2012 for the theatrical re-release of Jacques Demy’s Lola, she started the interview with a request: “Please, let’s not speak about my age. It is of no curiosity to anybody.” What was unsettling was that, in saying that, she sounded precisely the identical as Lola did, 51 years earlier. That is why it was so charming to listen to her say “Lola, she’s me,” within the current tense, as if time had, certainly, not mattered. It was her personal useless type, little question, this ageless current, and this type spoke volumes in regards to the girl and the way in which she had steered her ship with out a lot concern for sea spray, folks’s opinions or having a profession, earlier than passing away on Tuesday, June 18, on the age of 92. “We’ve the immense unhappiness of asserting the departure of my mother Anouk Aimée,” wrote her daughter, actress Manuela Papatakis, in a message posted on Instagram. “I used to be proper beside her when she handed away this morning, at her residence in Paris.”

She had began very early, and had thereafter by no means needed to cease, apart from seven years: The time of a marital interlude in London on the finish of the Sixties, with the actor Albert Finney, for whom she had wished to henceforth solely play one function, that of a spouse, in actual life.

Born Françoise Dreyfus on April 27, 1932, in Paris, Aimée was the daughter of actors however stated she had not been “born into it” in any respect. Like a wildflower, she had grown up removed from the highlight, being partly raised by her godfather and godmother on a farm. At first, her curiosity in cinema was so distant that it barely existed. Destiny needed to drive her hand, by setting her on the trail of director Henri Calef, who abruptly requested her if she want to make movies. She’d by no means actually recognized the place the “sure” that sprang to her lips had come from.

For her first movie, La Maison sous la mer (“The Home below the Sea,” 1946), Françoise was 13, and her character was known as Anouk. The primary a part of her stage title was discovered with this primary step, however the final title remained. The poet and screenwriter Jacques Prévert gave that to her. The story is well-known: They met the next 12 months on the set of Marcel Carné’s movie La Fleur de l’âge (“The Flower of Youth”), through which she starred with Arletty, Serge Reggiani and Martine Carol. The movie remained unfinished: About 20 minutes of it have been edited, and solely half of it was shot earlier than the group stopped manufacturing. What stays are Emile Savitry’s on-set pictures of a ravishing Anouk and the title: “Aimée” – “as a result of everybody beloved her,” in keeping with Prévert. You possibly can’t refuse a reputation like that.

Inventing oneself

In the course of the conflict, Françoise had already stopped calling herself Dreyfus to change into Françoise Durand, and thus dodge the yellow star. “Anouk Aimée” was not a query of survival, nevertheless it nonetheless obeyed a significant precept: That of fixing one’s title to invent oneself, but with out turning into one thing else. “I’ve by no means carried out a complete composition. There’s at all times a bit of me in my roles,” she stated. One among them, nonetheless, virtually made her drop Anouk in favor of one other title: Lola, that of the heroine of Jacques Demy’s movie. “I not know the place Anouk begins and Lola begins, or the place Lola ends and Anouk ends,” she would say, even 50 years on.

Launched the 12 months after La Dolce Vita, Lola (1961) was simply as a lot, if no more, necessary than Fellini’s movie for the cinematic emergence of Anouk Aimée, who was so distinctive in her nonchalance. The place La Dolce Vita was intoxicated with capturing the silhouette, the angles of a face that had misplaced its adolescent cheeks, a hand with lengthy fingers wrapped round a cigarette; Lola celebrated the on-screen debut of a physique, the likes of which cinema would by no means once more overlook: A dance coach in a bodice and fishnet tights, as untouched by vulgarity as Botticelli’s nude Venus. It was unimaginable to think about, but Demy had carried out it. Aimée had merely trusted him, and did not attempt to clarify the miracle. She merely noticed: “There are individuals who can do something. Girls who say ‘Oh shit, you are pissing me off.’ Some shock, others do not. Lola can do it with out stunning, be impolite with out being seen, as a result of there is no vulgarity to her.”

After Demy, Aimée appeared to carry a little bit of Lola to all her different roles: A type of state of grace, which allowed her to do and play the whole lot with out ever being touched by crassness or mediocrity. Not that she was ever eager on tempting destiny, however the truth that she virtually at all times performed elegant girls, or that she made elegant girls out of everybody she performed, was magnificence many times, even – and this was on no account a given – with Jean-Pierre Mocky (Les Dragueurs [The Chasers], the director’s first movie, which was launched in 1959).

Her profession quickly took off internationally. On the age of 17, she starred alongside Trevor Howard in The Golden Salamander (1949), by British director Ronald Neame, the producer of David Lean’s first movies. In 1955 and 1956, she appeared in two German movies, Ich suche Dich (“I Search You”), by O.W. Fischer, and Nina, by Rudolf Jugert. In 1959, she performed a small function in Le Voyage (The Journey), an American movie by Anatole Litvak, who, six years earlier, in Un acte d’amour (Act of Love), had solid the very younger Brigitte Bardot, two years Anouk Aimée’s junior.

On the age of 16, Catherine Deneuve was biding her time: The blonde Bardot and the brunette Aimée embodied the 2 faces of French magnificence overseas, and it is laborious to think about them being extra totally different: One was the bikini-clad child doll, with sun-kissed hair and curves. The opposite, the mysterious halo of darkish hair, alabaster pores and skin, the slim determine, with that single astonishing Hollywood function of heavy eyelids below thick black eyeliner, à la Monroe.

On screens the world over

If Bardot’s worldwide aura owes little to her uncommon movie collaborations exterior France, Aimée has had a extra lasting affect on screens the world over, the place she discovered some nice roles. Fewer, little question, than those who her absolute precision in performing and her delicate mastery of restrained emotion deserved. Fellini, unsurprisingly, was considered one of them: The bored middle-class girl in La Dolce Vita; the deceived however smiling spouse in 812. Later, Bellocchio, for whom she performs the depressed Marta, consumed by dizziness, earned her the Greatest Actress prize on the Cannes Movie Competition in 1980 for A Leap within the Darkish.

She was additionally courted by the US, the place her charms have been extra sudden (in 1962, she performed a peplum-clad queen for Robert Aldrich and Sergio Leone in Sodom and Gomorrah), or have been straight impressed by her aura as a style icon, when she performed a mannequin in Sidney Lumet’s The Appointment in 1969. She was 37 on the time of the movie’s launch, and the character aptly sums up her distinctive standing within the cinematic panorama: The mysterious Carla, formally a mannequin, is suspected by her jealous fiancé or husband of working as a prostitute.

On the one hand, the icon, the untouchable, the girl that appears to exist solely on the shiny paper of stylish magazines. On the opposite, the general public, purchasable, disposable physique. Two contradictory – or maybe complementary – fantasies, which have continued to form the archetypal picture that individuals in America typically have of the attractive French girl.

Bardot was already “the” girl in Et Dieu… créa la femme (And God Created Lady, 1956), when 10 years later Aimée grew to become “a” girl for Claude Lelouch, in Un homme et une femme (A Man and a Lady, 1966): A lady, any girl (the stranger Lelouch meets on a seashore, who conjures up him to make the movie), and finally the one we’ll always remember once more – within the romance the movie depicts, and from our viewpoint as enchanted spectators.

She performed Anne Gauthier (the character’s title hardly issues), a movie technician, the heroine of the best story and one of many world’s most stunning romance movies. It received hearts the world over, amassing awards, the Oscar and Golden Globe for Greatest Overseas Language Movie, and the Golden Globe for Greatest Actress for Aimée. Though supposed as a lover’s hymn for Romy Schneider, this story appeared tailored for the nice romantic Aimée was then, and might be thereafter.

She married thrice, to Greek filmmaker Nico Papatakis at 19; to musician Pierre Barouh, whom she met on the set of A Man and a Lady, for which he wrote and carried out the well-known “chabadabada” melody; and to English actor Albert Finney. She lived with Elie Chouraqui, had an affair with Omar Sharif, her co-star in The Appointment – so many pages of her life that she at all times saved below a veil of thriller, though she by no means forbade herself from speaking about them.

A style for secrecy

Her most eloquent expression of this was not by her personal phrases, however these of American playwright Albert Ramsdell Gurney, whose Love Letters she – though she was no veteran of the stage – carried out tirelessly on stage between 1990 and 2014; first with Bruno Cremer, then Jean-Louis Trintignant, Philippe Noiret, Jacques Weber, Alain Delon, Gérard Depardieu, and so forth.

Aimée beloved to speak, however she despised phrases that reveal, decipher and deflower. She was not a girl to spell issues out. When questioned in regards to the immense success of A Man and a Lady, she was requested if she had foreseen it. She replied, on the age of 80, but with adolescent candor: “You by no means know this stuff, however you are pleased. I believe that is an excellent signal.”

On this event, as she had at all times carried out, she would transfer ahead with the interview counter to any evaluation or exegesis, which did not appear to have the slightest attraction to her. Gossip had even much less attraction; although no extra, alternatively, than political correctness or doubletalk did for her. Merely, she answered every query in step with the grammatical type of a solution, and the issues she stated, typically mischievously, raised questions thrice over.

Was it the signal of a style for the true function of the thriller girl, “a” girl – who might be any girl and but who stays the girl we always remember? Extra merely, past any function, a style for secrecy, and for these issues which can be all of the extra stunning for not being defined? Maybe, much more merely, the key of that unequalled, enduring magnificence that made her such a novel presence, peaceable in her naturalness, but one way or the other drawing the unimaginable substance of her thriller from her very transparency.

Noémie Luciani

Translation of an unique article revealed in French on lemonde.fr; the writer could solely be chargeable for the French model.

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