Dennis suggests you experience the wonders of Isabelle Huppert. Tiny, sharp-featuredly elfin French actress has been a riveting, challenging, and quite often shocking presence in French and American thrillers, dramas, and even comedies since she hit the screen in the early 70s. Here’s all of the Huppert Videoport has to offer for the adventurous (with snappy, smartassed one liners):
1. Going Places: Gerard Depardieu and Patrick Dewaere are womanizing thugs in this great dramedy; Isabelle is one of the womanized.
2. The Lacemaker: Isabelle, still wearing her baby fat, will break your heart here.
3. Loulou: she shakes off her bourgeois life and channels her rebelliousness into getting repeatedly humped by Depardieu again.
4. Heaven’s Gate: wasn’t her fault.
5. Coup de Torchon: African-set noir, with Isabelle doing her best trampy minx number on husband Phillipe Noiret…or does she?
6. Passion: she teams up with noted French crank Jean-Luc Godard.
7. Entre Nous: Izzy and fellow enigmatic French lass Miou-Miou team up in this tale of two women’s romantic friendship.
8. Story of Women: she plays an inscrutable abortionist, the last woman executed in France.
9. Madame Bovary: as a saucy French Emma Bovary, Huppert is excellent. And saucy.
10. Love After Love: she’s a- surprise!- enigmatic, free-thinking woman torn between two lovers.
11. Amateur: in Hal Hartley’s (English language) dark comedy, Isabelle plays “Isabelle”, a pornography-writing, virgin, nymphomaniac ex-nun in one of the most touchingly comic performances I’ve ever seen.
12. La Separation: she and Daniel Auteuil break your heart as they chart the helpless disintegration of a marriage.
13. La Ceremonie: Isabelle begins her streak of monumentally-messed up women in this psychological domestic thriller. Chilling.
14. The Swindle: nifty con-person thriller from director Claude Chabrol.
15. The School of Flesh: IH, again, follows the mysterious course of her heart when her successful executive falls for a young bisexual hustler. Based on a novel by Yukio Mishima.
16. Les Destinees: lots more romantic unhappiness for our girl in this period piece.
17. Merci Pour le Chocolate: Chabrol and Huppert team up again for more murderous fun.
18. The Comedy of Innocence: enigmatic drama with Isabelle being all enigmatic again, by the looks of it.
19. The Piano Teacher: yeah, I’m just gonna say it: IH creates the single most messed-up character in the history of cinema in this movie. Yowza.
20. 8 Women: she’s part of the fantastic distaff ensemble (Fanny Ardant, Danielle Darrieux, Virginie Ledoyen, Emmanuelle Beart, Catherine Deneuve) in this darkly giddy musical. Highly recommended.
21. The Time of the Wolf: Isabelle is an understandably protective mother in this mysterious, post-apocalyptic thriller.
22. Ma Mere: perhaps a runner-up in the “most messed-up woman she’s ever played” sweepstakes, she plays a mother who introduces her young son to very French depravity.
23. I Heart Huckabees: coming to America again, she once again creates a delightfully loopy creature as Caterine Vaubin, “the dark lady of French philosophy” who, as part of his spiritual education, ends up humping Jason Schwartzman in a mud puddle.
24. Gabrielle: IH, in another unhappy marriage.
25. Comedy of Power: Huppert and Chabrol yet again; she plays a judge addicted to her power over wealthy men.
26. Private Property: haven’t seen her latest yet; I’m gonna go ahead and guess that she brilliantly plays some sort of unhappy person. She may have also finally revealed every last, delightful square centimeter of her body by the end of it.
Come get some Huppert at Videoport: 151 Middle St. Portland, Maine 04101 (207)773-1999