I like to take these unusual characters and then make them as normal as possible, because we all know that the tragedy and the abnormal always hides itself behind the normal.
Isabelle Huppert in an interview at the 2001 Regus London Film Festival

French actress Isabelle Huppert was born in Paris in 1953 into a bourgeois family. Her mother was an English teacher and her father a company director. She has three sisters, whereof two movie directors and one economy professor. Their brother is a writer and an avid piano player, like their mother. Isabelle, who is the youngest child, also played for 12 years before abandoning the piano.

"They saw me as quite an easy child; I softened them. It's cute, softening, but it's not very constructive," said Huppert in a 1997 interview with the French paper Libération. Finding out she was not talented in the ways of figure skating or science, she decided, supported by her mother, to become an actress and studied, after playing some minor and medium roles on and off the tv screen, at the Conservatoires d'Art Dramatique in Versaille and in Paris.

The actress that once stated that she wouldn't want to age on the screen, to play the mothers, is today more respected than ever for her work. She is a mother off-screen - of three - and has also played a mother, although not all of them equally motherly. One example is her role as Madame Bovary in Claude Chabrol's 1991 adaptation of Gustave Flaubert's classic novel. Chabrol is one of the actors she has returned to work with several times - they first worked together in 1978. The director Bertrand Tavernier is also closely linked to Huppert's career. He cast her in her first movie and also worked with her later on.

To get a part in one of Hal Hartley's movies, she allegedly wrote the director - whom she didn't know - saying "Trust me!" He then included her in his next project - Amateur.

One of her most stunning and celebrated performances in later years is that of Erika Kohut in the rather controversial La pianiste by Michael Haneke, where Huppert plays a piano teacher with somewhat unhealthy sexual inclinations. For the movie, the actress also had to start practicing playing the piano again, as Haneke wanted this part to be as realistic as possible. Said Huppert in the London Film Festival interview: "Each character is, at the same time, a monster and human being". Personally, I found her performance absolutely breathtaking, in an excellent movie that was really quite hard to watch.

In 2002 she also starred in 8 femmes, alongside a selection of France's finest actresses, including Catherine Deneuve, Emmanuelle Béart and Fanny Ardant. Huppert is the actress that has been nominated the most times for the French movie award César and has taken home several awards from movie festivals such as Cannes, Venice and Montreal.

Filmography from imdb.com:
Deux (2002) - Magdalena/Maria (Two)
La vie promise (2002) - Sylvia
8 femmes (2002) - Augustine (8 Women)
La pianiste (2001) - Erika Kohut (The Piano Player, The Piano Teacher)
Clara (2000) - Clara Schumann
Merci pour le chocolat (2000) - Marie-Claire 'Mika' Muller (Nightcap)
Comédie de l'innocence (2000) - Ariane (Comedy of Innocence, Son of Two Mothers)
Les destinées sentimentales (2000) - Nathalie Barnery
Saint-Cyr (2000) - Madame de Maintenon (The King's Daughters)
Fausse suivante, La (2000) - La comtesse
(False Servant) La vie moderne (1999) - Claire (Modern Life)
Pas de scandale (1999) - Agnès Jeancourt (Keep It Quiet, No Scandal)
L'école de la chair, L' (1998) - Dominique (The School of Flesh)
Rien ne va plus (1997) - Betty (The Swindle)
Les palmes de M. Schutz (1997) - Marie Curie
Affinità elettive, Le (1996) - Carlotta (The Elective Affinities)
Poussières d'amour (1996) - Interviewer (Love's Debris)
Gulliver's Travels (1996) (TV) (voice) - Mistress
Lumière et compagnie (1995) (voice) - (segment "Abbas Kiarostami")
La cérémonie, La (1995) - Jeanne (A Judgement in Stone)
"Seobe" (1994) (mini) TV Series
Navodneniye (1994) - Sofia (The Flood)
La séparation (1994) - Anne (The Separation)
Amateur (1994) - Isabelle
Après l'amour (1992) - Lola (After Love)
Contre l'oubli (1991) (Against Oblivion, Lest We Forget)
Madame Bovary (1991) - Emma Bovary
Malina (1991) - The Woman
La vengeance d'une femme, La (1989) - Cecile (A Woman's Revenge)
Les possédés (1988) - Maria Sjatov (The Possessed)
Une affaire de femmes (1988) - Marie (The Story of Women)
Milan noir (1987) (Black Milan)
The Bedroom Window (1987) - Sylvia
Cactus (1986) - Colo
Sac de noeuds (1985) - Rose-Marie Martin (All Mixed Up)
Signé Charlotte (1985) - Charlotte (Sincerely Charlotte)
La garce (1984) - Aline Kaminker/Édith Weber
La femme de mon pote (1983) - Viviane (My Best Friend's Girl)
Storia di Piera (1983) - Piera (The Story of Piera)
Coup de foudre (1983) - Lena (At First Sight, Between Us, Entre Nous)
La truite (1982) - Frédérique (US: The Trout)
Passion (1982) - Isabelle (US: Godard's Passion)
Coup de torchon (1981) - Rose (Clean Slate)
Eaux profondes (1981) - Melanie
Les ailes de la colombe (1981) - Marie
La dame aux camélias (1981) - Alphonsine Plessis (Lady of the Camelias)
Örökség (1980) (The Heiresses, The Inheritance (US)
Heaven's Gate (1980) - Ella Watson (Johnson County Wars)
Loulou (1980) - Nelly
Sauve qui peut (la vie) (1979) - Isabelle Rivière (Every Man for Himself, Slow Motion)
Scénario de 'Sauve qui peut la vie' (1979)
Retour à la bien-aimée (1979) - Jeanne Kern
Les soeurs Brontë (1979) - Anne Brontë (The Bronte Sisters)
Monsieur Saint-Saëns (1978) (TV) - La jeune fille
Violette Nozière (1978) - Violette Nozière
On ne badine pas avec l'amour (1977) (TV) - Camille
La dentellière (1977) - Pomme (The Lacemaker)
Des enfants gâtés (1977) (uncredited) - La secrétaire/Secretary (Spoiled Children)
Les Indiens sont encore loin (1976) - Jenny (The Indians Are Still Far Away)
Le petit Marcel (1976) - Yvette (Little Marcel)
Je suis Pierre Rivière (1976) - Aimée (I Am Pierre Riviere)
Docteur Françoise Gailland (1975) - Elisabeth Gailland (No Time for Breakfast)
Große Ekstase, Die (1975) (Int. title: The Big Delirium)
Le juge et l'assassin (1975) - Rose (The Judge and the Assassin)
Aloïse (1975) - Aloïse enfant/Aloïse as a child Rosebud (1975) - Helene Nikolaos Dupont-Lajoie (1975) - Brigitte Colin (The Common Man (US), Rape of Innocence) L'ampélopède (1974) - La conteuse Sérieux comme le plaisir (1974) (Int. title: Serious as Pleasure Les valseuses (1974) - Jacqueline (Getting It Up, Going Places (US) or Making It) Glissements progressifs du plaisir (1973) (uncredited) - Bit (Int. title: Successive Slidings of Pleasure)
Vogue la galère (1973) (TV) - Clotilde
Le maître de pension (1973) (TV) - Annie
Histoire vraie (1973) (TV) - Adelaïde
Bar de la fourche, Le (1972) - Annie (Int. title: The Bar at the Crossing
César et Rosalie (1972) - Marite
Figaro-ci, Figaro-là (1972) (TV) - Pauline
Faustine et le bel été (1972)
Le Prussien (1971) (TV) - Elisabeth

Main sources:

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