Monday, October 16, 2006
Isabelle vs. Isabelle
A few days after blogging about the two Isabelles (Huppert, left, and Adjani) being on the Parisian stage at the same time—but certainly not the same place—I coincidentally came across a funny article exploring the very same thing. In a Nouvel Observateur piece titled "La guerre des Isabelle" ("the Isabelles War"), Marie-Elisabeth Rouchy details the actresses' rivalry, which goes back to that Brontë sisters movie they made with André Téchiné back in 1979, when their respective agents would time their screen time to make sure one didn't get more than the other. Adjani recalls that Téchiné didn't want them to wear makeup but that they always tried to sneak some on while he wasn't looking so one wouldn't look plainer than the other. (The third sister was played by the wonderful Marie-France Pisier, but you don't see her get into feuds with anybody.)
More good stuff from the article for non-francophones:
In the late ’70s, Huppert and Adjani both wanted to star in a film adaptation of Théophile Gaultier's La dame aux camélias (usually known here as Camille). Huppert won that one, but Adjani scored a few years later when she got to do a project they both coveted, the life of Camille Claudel.
Even more deliciously (and that I had totally forgotten about), Huppert starred in Schiller's Maria Stuart in London in 1996—the character Adjani is now playing in Paris, but in Wolfgang Hildsheimer's lesser-known version of Stuart's last moments.
Rouchy also tallies the actresses' Césars (Adjani's four to Huppert's one), respective filmographies (Adjani's 27 movies to Huppert's 76) and media profiles (Adjani's breakup with Jean-Michel Jarre lands her in French celebrity magazines, Huppert gets a retrospective at MoMA and a hardcover book of portraits).
Since of course it's more exciting pick a camp, I unhesitantly join the Huppertists—though it's quite fun to watch Adjani vainly try to fight Time and in the process resemble more and more a porcelain doll.
And that's the end of tonight's Star Watch.