I’ve been thinking about making this post for a while, especially because Isabelle Huppert won the Golden Globes this year and she is nominated for an Academy Award for Elle. More important than that, she is an actress that has been doing incredible work lately and even through her entire filmography is something that is worth checking out, I’ve decided to put a list of some amazing films that she’s in. After posting Alain Delon in 10 films, here is Isabelle Huppert’s version:
Story of Women (1988) by Claude Chabrol
This movie had been on my watch list for a long time and after watching it recently I can say that in my opinion, this is Isabelle Huppert’s best work so far. The story happens during the French occupation in France when abortion was against the law. Huppert plays Marie, a poor woman with two kids that were left behind after her husband went to Germany to fight in the war. After she helps the neighbor to have a domestic abortion, the word spreads out and she sees herself making money by practicing illegal abortions in many poor women who find comfort with German soldiers. Most importantly, this film is not ethical at all. Its pure cinema and deals with feminism, abortion, and sex in a mature and intelligent way.
The Piano Teacher (2001) by Michael Haneke
Probably my favorite Isabelle Huppert film and one of the best of Michael Haneke’s work, this obscure and interesting drama tells the story of a sadomasochistic piano teacher who lives a double life. Huppert plays a teacher who falls in love for one of her students and tries to invite him to her disturbed world of peep-shows and self-mutilation. Haneke’s transform this plot into an artistic voyeur piece of art, where you won’t be able to shut down your eyes and forget its shocking end.
La Céremonie (1995) by Claude Chabrol
This film might have been directed by Claude Chabrol, but there are so many Haneke’s and Hitchcock elements here that you could easily say that all of them directed the film. One way or the other, La Céremonie is still brilliant. Huppert plays Jeanne, a woman who becomes friends with Sophie, who is working as a maid for a rich family. The more time they spend together, the more Sophie starts to suspect that Jeanne has a dark secret. But Sophie also has a dark secret herself, and when everything comes to the surface, both of them decide to do something that will change their lives forever.
Ma Mére (2004) by Christopher Honoré
Christopher Honoré, Isabelle Huppert and Louis Garrel. How not to like this film? In this incestuous, sexy and weird romance, Garrel plays Pierre, a 17-year-old boy who starts living with his mom after his dad died. However, Pierre is in love with his mom, which gets more complicated when he finds out about her mom’s wild and dangerous lifestyle, involving casual sex with strangers and psychological games. One of the most interesting films by Christopher Honoré.
Things to Come (2016) by Mia Hansen-Love
Probably my favorite movie of 2016, Things to Come tells the story of a woman who has it all and has to retransform herself when she finds out her husband wants to marry another woman. Instead of approaching this subject in a cliché matter, Mia Hansen-Love deconstructs the life of a character in an open-minded and realistic way where even though she goes through tough times, she knows everything will be all right. “I’m lucky to be fulfilled intellectual, that’s enough to be happy”, as Isabelle Huppert’s character says.
Elle (2016) by Paul Verhoeven
It’s a bit of rhetoric to talk about Paul Verhoeven’s Elle in this post since one of the reasons I wrote it it’s because of Isabelle Huppert’s nomination. Even though I’m not a big fan of this movie, it’s impossible to deny that Hupper’s performance kind of sums up her entire lifework and that’s why I think is so important. I’m not really comfortable with the implication this movie has because I feel they are a little problematic, however, the feeling you have at the end of the movie will definitely stick with you for a few days and I think this is one of the most important things on cinema.
Amour (2012) by Michael Haneke
Isabelle Huppert doesn’t have a big role in Michael Handke’s Amour, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t give the most of herself in this incredibly poetic morbid drama about the last days of an old couple. Huppert plays the daughter who goes visit them and suffers with their requiem, which seems to spread all over the house like a disease. The film won Palm d’Or in Cannes in 2012.
Valley of Love (2015) by Guillaume Nicloux
Isabelle Huppert and Gérard Depardieu worked together in Maurice Pilat’s Loulou in 1980. Thirty-five years later they reunited to star in Valley of Love, a film that is not incredible but it’s quite unique because of the cast and the mystery surrounding the plot. The son of a couple kills himself and leaves a letter to their parents saying that they should meet in the Valley of Death because he will return. Huppert and Depardieu play the couple, who are now divorced and go face the strong heat of the Valley of Death desert to be tested.
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby (2014) by Ned Benson
This was probably one of my favorite movies of 2014 and Isabelle Huppert’s appearance was a total surprise for me. Here, she plays the mother of Eleanor Rigby, a French Parisian wine drinker who seem to judge the daughter by their choices and especially her suicide attempt. Even though she doesn’t appear much in the movie, her presence is not only special because is an American movie, but the film itself is amazingly good, talking about the transformations we all face through life and how to get rid of our old selves to become something better than we were before.
Louder Than Bombs (2015) by Joachim Trier
Another American production featuring Isabelle Huppert, here she plays a wife, mother of two and a journalist photographer who commits suicide by crashing her car against a truck. Her life and legacy haunt her family, especially her two sons, Jonah, who just got married, and Conrad, who are struggling through the battles of high school. Even though the film is about loss, Isabelle Huppert’s character has a personality that you’d only expect her to play: an independent woman who thinks her job is bigger than her life and even though she loves her family more than anything, she will never be happy. And the most important thing is that she knows that’s okay.