Isabelle Adjani

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Isabelle Adjani
Isabelle Adjani Cannes 2009.JPG
Isabelle Adjani at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.
Born Isabelle Yasmine Adjani
(1955-06-27) 27 June 1955 (age 58)
Paris, France[1]
Occupation Actress, singer
Years active 1970–present
Children 2
Parents Mohammed Adjani, Augusta Adjani
Relatives Eric Adjani (brother, deceased)
César Awards
Best Actress
1982 Possession
1984 L'été meurtrier
1989 Camille Claudel
1995 La reine Margot
2010 La journée de la jupe
Cannes Film Festival
Best Actress
1981 Quartet ; Possession

Isabelle Adjani (born 27 June 1955) is a French film actress and singer. Adjani rose to fame in 1975 for her overwhelmingly lauded performance as Adele Hugo in The Story of Adele H., earning 20 year-old Adjani her first Academy Award for Best Actress nomination, making her the youngest nominee ever at the time.

Adjani has appeared in many films since, performing in French, English and German. She holds the record for the most César Awards for Best Actress, having received five: for Possession (1981), One Deadly Summer (1983), Camille Claudel (1988), Queen Margot (1994) and Skirt Day (2009).

Adjani was recognized with a double Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Award for Possession and Quartet in 1981. She received a Berlin Film Festival Best Actress Award in 1989. She also received two Academy Award nominations for Best Actress. In 2010, she was made a Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur.

Early life[edit]

Isabelle Yasmina Adjani was born in the 17th arrondissement of Paris to a German mother from Bavaria and an Algerian father from Iferhounène, Kabylie.[2][3][4][5] Her mother Augusta, called "Gusti", met her father near the end of World War II when he was in the French Army. They married and she returned with him to Paris, not speaking a word of French.[6][7][8]

She asked him to take Cherif as his first name as it sounded more "American".[9] Mohammed Cherif Adjani was a soldier in the French Army in World War II.

Adjani grew up bilingual, speaking French and German fluently.[10][11][12] After winning a school recitation contest, Adjani began acting by the age of twelve in amateur theater.


At the age of 14, Adjani starred in her first motion picture, Le Petit bougnat (1970).[13]

Adjani first gained fame as a classical actress at the Comédie française, which she joined in 1972. She was praised for her interpretation of Agnès, the main female role in Molière's L'École des femmes. She soon left the theatre to pursue a film career.

After minor roles in several films, she enjoyed modest success in the 1974 film La Gifle (or The Slap). The following year, she landed her first major role in François Truffaut's The Story of Adèle H. (1975). Critics praised her performance, with the American critic Pauline Kael describing her acting talents as "prodigious".[14][15] Only nineteen when she made the film, Adjani was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar and quickly received offers for roles in Hollywood films, such as Walter Hill's 1978 crime thriller The Driver. She played Lucy in the German director Werner Herzog's 1979 remake of Nosferatu.

In 1981, Adjani received a double Cannes Film Festival's best actress award for her roles in the Merchant Ivory film Quartet, based on the novel by Jean Rhys, and in the horror film Possession (1981). The following year, she received her first César Award for Possession, in which she had portrayed a woman having a nervous breakdown. In 1983, she won her second César for her depiction of a vengeful woman in the French blockbuster One Deadly Summer.

That same year, Adjani released the French pop album Pull marine, written and produced by Serge Gainsbourg. She starred in a music video for the hit title song, "Pull Marine", which was directed by Luc Besson.

In 1988, she co-produced and starred in a biopic of the sculptor Camille Claudel. She received her third César and second Oscar nomination for her role in the film, which was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Following this recognition, she was chosen by People magazine as one of the "50 Most Beautiful People" in the world.

Adjani, from the 1994 film La Reine Margot, as seen on the poster for the 39th César Awards

She received her fourth César for the 1994 film Queen Margot, an ensemble epic directed by Patrice Chéreau. She received her fifth César for Skirt Day (2009), the most that any actress has received. The film features her as a middle school teacher in a troubled French suburb who takes her class hostage when she accidentally fires off a gun she found on one of her students. It was premiered on the French Arte channel on 20 March 2009, attaining a record 2.2 million viewers) and then in movie theaters on 25 March 2009.[16]

In 2011, Adjani was named "The Most Beautiful Woman in Film" by the Los Angeles Times magazine.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Isabelle Adjani at the hôtel Amour, 21 October 2012.

In 1979, she had a son, Barnabe Nuytten, with the cinematographer Bruno Nuytten.[10] Adjani was romantically linked to the actor Warren Beatty from 1986 to 1987. From 1989 to 1995, she had a relationship with Daniel Day Lewis,[10] who left before the birth of their son, Gabriel-Kane Day-Lewis, in 1995.[18]

Adjani was later engaged to the composer Jean Michel Jarre; they broke up in 2004.[18]

In 2009, Adjani criticized statements by Pope Benedict XVI claiming that condoms are not an effective method of AIDS prevention.[19]


In addition to specific awards for particular films, Adjani was made a Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur on 14 July 2010 for her artistic contributions.[20]


Year Film Role Notes
1970 Petit bougnat, LeLe Petit bougnat Rose
1972 Faustine et le bel été Camille
1973 L'avare (film 1973) Mariane Produced by the Comédie-Française
1974 Le secret des Flamands Maria
1974 La Gifle Isabelle Doulean Special David di Donatello
1975 Story of Adèle H., TheThe Story of Adèle H. Adèle Hugo Cartagena Film Festival Golden India Catalina for Best Actress
David di Donatello for Best Actress
National Board of Review Award for Best Actress
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated—César Award for Best Actress
1976 Tenant, TheThe Tenant Stella
1976 Barocco Laure Nominated—César Award for Best Actress
1977 Violette & François Violette Clot
1978 Driver, TheThe Driver The Player
1979 Nosferatu the Vampyre Lucy Harker Bambi Award for Best Actress
1979 Brontë Sisters, TheThe Brontë Sisters Emily Brontë
1981 Clara et les Chics Types Clara
1981 Possession Anna/Helen Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Award
César Award for Best Actress
1981 Quartet Marya Zelli Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Award
1981 L' Année prochaine... si tout va bien Isabelle
1982 Tout feu, tout flamme Pauline Valance
1982 Antonieta Antonieta Rivas Mercado
1983 Mortelle randonnée Catherine Leiris/Lucie, 'Marie'
1983 One Deadly Summer Eliane known as 'Elle' César Award for Best Actress
1985 Subway Héléna Nominated—César Award for Best Actress
1986 T'as de beaux escaliers tu sais
1987 Ishtar Shirra Assel
1988 Camille Claudel Camille Claudel César Award for Best Actress
Silver Bear for Best Actress at Berlin[21]
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actress
1993 Toxic Affair Pénélope
1994 Queen Margot Margot César Award for Best Actress
1996 Diabolique Mia Baran
1998 Paparazzi Isabelle Adjani
2002 Repentie, LaLa Repentie Charlotte/Leïla
2002 Adolphe Ellénore Cabourg Romantic Film Festival Award for Best Actress
2003 Bon voyage Viviane Denvers
2003 Monsieur Ibrahim et les fleurs du Coran La star
2009 journée de la jupe, LaLa journée de la jupe Sonia Bergerac César Award for Best Actress
Television Festival Award for Best Actress
2010 Mammuth The Lost Love of Serge Entered into the 60th Berlin International Film Festival
2011 De Force Clara Damico
2012 David et Madame Hansen Madame Hansen-Bergmann
2013 Ishkq in Paris Marie Elise
2014 Sous les jupes des filles Lily



  1. ^ Brennan, Sandra. "Isabelle Adjani". Allmovie. Retrieved 6 July 2009. 
  2. ^ People Magazine. "Isabelle Adjani Has the Face That's Launching a Thousand Scripts". Retrieved 23 March 2012. 
  3. ^ Love Film. "French Heartbreakers". Retrieved 23 March 2012. 
  4. ^ Chantal, Thompson; Phillips, Elaine (2012), "Trois grandes stars françaises: Isabelle Adjani", Mais Oui!, Volume 1, Cengage Learning, p. 13, ISBN 1-111-83582-9 
  5. ^ Auzias, Dominique; Labourdette, Jean-Paul (2006), "Les comediens: Isabelle Adjani", Hauts de Seine, Petit Futé, p. 35, ISBN 2-7469-1351-8 
  6. ^ Isabelle Adjani : « Mon père, kabyle, s'était engagé dans l'armée française à 16 ans, et c'est en remontant d'Italie jusqu'en Bavière à la fin de la seconde guerre mondiale qu'il rencontre et séduit ma mère » Interview with Isabelle Adjani, Télérama, March 2009
  7. ^ « Allemande rencontrée en Bavière qu'épousa à la fin de la Seconde Guerre mondiale Mohammed Adjani, soldat kabyle de l'armée française », Jean de La Guérivière, Amère Méditerranée: Le Maghreb et nous, Seuil, 2004, p.391
  8. ^ Isabelle Adjani : « Mon père, kabyle, s'était engagé dans l'armée française à 16 ans, et c'est en remontant d'Italie jusqu'en Bavière à la fin de la seconde guerre mondiale qu'il rencontre et séduit ma mère », Interview Isabelle Adjani, Télérama, 31 March 2009
  9. ^ "Ma mère était bavaroise. Elle se sentait très mal en France, où elle était arrivée sans parler un mot de français. Elle ne supportait pas que son mari soit algérien. Elle disait qu'il était d'origine turque et je le croyais. Entre mes parents, il y avait un racisme conjugal. Ma mère traitait mon père de crouille et mon père lui répondait : Sale boche. Il s'appelait Mohammed mais ma mère l'avait obligé à changer de prénom. Sur notre boîte aux lettres, il y avait: Cherif Adjani. Mamère trouvait que ça faisait américain.", Adjani la vérité, Interview Isabelle Adjani, Le Nouvel Observateur, 1985
  10. ^ a b c "Isabelle Adjani". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 6 July 2009. 
  11. ^ Kemp, Philip. "Isabelle Adjani". Film Reference. Retrieved 8 September 2008. 
  12. ^ Applefield, David (November 2001). "Isabelle Adjani". Paris Voice. 
  13. ^ Isabelle Adjani at the Internet Movie Database
  14. ^ Pauline Kael Reviews, Retrieved on 8 September 2008.
  15. ^ Kael, Pauline (1980). When The Lights Go Down. Henry Holt & Co. ISBN 0-03-042511-5. 
  16. ^ "La journée de la jupe". 
  17. ^ "The 50 Most Beautiful Woman in Film". Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  18. ^ a b Watson, Shane (15 August 2004). "The dumping game". The Times (UK). Retrieved 19 June 2007. 
  19. ^ "Adjani traite le pape de "peste blanche"". 20 Minuten. 25 March 2009. 
  20. ^ "Légion d'honneur : Aubrac, Bouygues, Pérol, Adjani, Bolling parmi les promus", Le Monde, 14 juillet 2010
  21. ^ "Berlinale: 1989 Prize Winners". Retrieved 10 March 2011. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Adjani, Isabelle (1980). Isabelle Adjani in : Jean-Luc Douin (Hrsg.): Comédiennes aujourd'hui : au micro et sous le regard. Paris: Lherminier. ISBN 2-86244-020-5
  • Austin, Guy (2003). Foreign bodies: Jean Seberg and Isabelle Adjani, S. 91–106 in: ders., Stars in Modern French Film. Londres: Arnold. ISBN 0-340-76019-2
  • Austin, Guy (2006). Telling the truth can be a dangerous business : Isabelle Adjani, race and stardom, in : Remapping World Cinema : Identity, Culture and Politics in Film, herausgegeben von Stephanie Dennison und Song Hwee Lim, London: Wallflower Press. ISBN 1-904764-62-2
  • Halberstadt, Michèle (2002). Adjani aux pieds nus – Journal de la repentie. Paris: Editions Calmann-Lévy. ISBN 2-7021-3293-6
  • Roques-Briscard, Christian (1987). La passion d'Adjani, Lausanne et al.: Favre. ISBN 2-8289-0279-X
  • Zurhorst, Meinolf (1992). Isabelle Adjani. Ihre Filme – Ihr Leben. Heyne Film – und Fernsehbibliothek, Band 163. München: Heyne. ISBN 3-453-05238-2

External links[edit]