French actor Isabelle Huppert is set to receive the Berlin Film Festival’s Honorary Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in February. Her films will also be honored as part of a special Homage section.
Huppert will be awarded the prize for lifetime achievement. In conjunction with the awards on Feb. 15 at the Berlinale Palast, the festival will screen her latest movie, Laurent Larivière’s “À propos de Joan” — unveiled on Wednesday in the fest’s first batch of titles — as a special gala premiere.
Huppert has a longstanding relationship with Berlin, and has starred in seven competition films to date. She was first a guest in Berlin with Jacques Doillon’s “La vengeance d’une femme” before appearing in Francois Ozon’s “8 Femmes” as an unprepossessing woman who emerges in the end as a confident beauty. The ensemble cast was awarded a Silver Bear for outstanding artistic accomplishment. Meanwhile, in “L’Avenir” she plays a woman re-discovering her freedom as a philosophy teacher in a failing marriage. Director Mia Hansen-Løve won the Silver Bear as best director for the film.
“We are proud to welcome Isabelle Huppert back to the festival,” say Berlinale directors Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian. “The Honorary Golden Bear may seem like a natural progression in a career without equal, since Isabelle Huppert is one of the few artists recognised with acting awards at all major film festivals. But Isabelle Huppert is more than a celebrated actor — she is an uncompromising artist who doesn’t hesitate to take risks and flout mainstream trends.
“Awarding her our most prestigious prize is to accentuate cinema as an art form, independent and unconditional. We often see actors as tools in the hands of filmmakers, but Isabelle Huppert is a clear example that the dynamic can be a true exchange. Actors can be the true engine of creating not only emotions, but also concepts of cinema.”
Huppert began studying acting at 14, and later attended the Conservatoire nationale supérieur d’art dramatique in Paris. She began her career on stage and made her screen debut with “Faustine et le bel été.” Huppert’s first appearance in an international production was in the film “Rosebud.” Two years later, her starring performance as the shy young woman Béatrice in Claude Goretta’s “La Dentellière” won her the BAFTA as Most Promising Newcomer.
Throughout her career, Huppert has worked with the likes of Jean-Luc Godard, Bertrand Tavernier, Claude Chabrol, Michael Haneke, Olivier Assayas, Catherine Breillat, Patrice Chéreau, Claire Denis, Andrzej Wajda, and Joachim Trier, as well as American filmmakers such as Curtis Hanson, Hal Hartley, Ira Sachs and David O. Russell, and Italian directors Paolo and Vittorio Taviani and Marco Bellocchio.
Huppert has been nominated for the César Awards (France’s equivalent to the Oscars) more than any other actress in France, and has twice won. She’s also won two Palmes D’Or at Cannes, and appeared in more than 20 films shown in competition there — yet another record. She won a best actress Golden Globe for “Elle” in 2016 — a role that resulted in her first Oscar nomination.
Huppert’s Homage films are below:
“La Dentellière” (The Lacemaker), France / FRG / Switzerland, 1977, Claude Goretta
“Sauve qui peut (la vie)” (Every Man for Himself), France / Switzerland / FRG / Austria, 1980, Jean-Luc Godard
“La Cérémonie,” France / Germany, 1995, Claude Chabrol
“La Pianiste” (The Piano Teacher), France / Austria / Germany, 2001, Michael Haneke
“8 Femmes” (8 Women), France / Italy, 2002, François Ozon
“L’Avenir” (Things to Come), France / Germany, 2016, Mia Hansen-Løve
“Elle,” France / Germany / Belgium, 2016, Paul Verhoeven