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Swiss film actor who came to prominence in the films of Krzysztof Kieslowski, namely The Double Life of Veronique (1991) and Three Colours: Red, in which she plays a model, and which is the culmination of the trilogy. She has also appeared in film as Desdemona in Othello.

She is now (end 2000, early 2001) appearing in a new play Madame Melville at the Vaudeville Theatre in the Strand, opposite Macauley Culkin, playing a French teacher who seduces the lad.

She was born on 15th July 1966. Her first part was in Louis Malle's Au Revoir, Les Enfants (1987).

As to the pronunciation of her name: I once heard her as the narrator of a musical piece on the BBC, and the announcer gave Irène a French sound, but Jacob a German one: ee-RAYN YAH-kob. The BBC is likely to have got it right, so this is what I call her.

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