Isabelle Huppert : her international career

Isabelle Huppert

More than 100 films to her name and a spectacular award-winning career

Today, the owner of two Césars, two Prizes at Cannes and a Golden Globe, read on to discover the life and career of Isabelle Huppert in all her glory. 


A 46 year career and over 110 films

Thanks to her extensive training in languages, Isabelle Huppert was able to play roles in English, Italian and Russian after completing her drama studies at École de la rue blanche and then at the National Conservatory of Dramatic Art where she was guided by Jean-Laurent Cochet and Antoine Vitez. Isabelle Huppert made her first appearance at the cinema at 19 in Faustine et le bel été  by Nina Companeez alongside Muriel Catala and Isabelle Adjani for her second film. She gained success quickly with Les Valseuses by Bertrand Blier at 22, a film that has achieved nearly 6 million ticket sales. A year later, Isabelle Huppert was nominated for the Cesar Award for Best Supporting Actress in Aloïse de Liliane of Kermadec. At the age of 25, she made her first film with Claude Chabrol and won the Cannes Film Festival's interpretation prize for her role in Violette Nozière. This is the beginning of a long and fruitful collaboration between the two artists with Madame Bovary (1991) and Merci pour le chocolat (2000). In all, 7 films, half of which sold more than an a million tickets in France and several awards were the key to the first César of her career. Huppert works closely and regularly with renowned filmmakers such as Godard or Pialat. She is also loyal to Benoît Jacquot, Michael Haneke and Claude Chabrol. She won the Golden Globe for best actress in a dramatic role thanks to her performance in the movie Elle in 2016 by Paul Verhoeven.

Today married to Ronnald Chammah, director and distributor who she met on the set of Milan noir in 1988, and mother of three children including actress Lolita Chammah, Isabelle Huppert remains one of the most prolific French actresses with on average two films a year. Remaining passionate after all these years, she continued to star in seven films in 2017.


Isabelle Huppert dans Merci L'amour


The Top 10 Isabelle Huppert films 

With 115 films to her credit and 16 César nominations, making her the Academy's most nominated actress, it's not easy to choose Isabelle Huppert's best films. Here is a selection.

La Ritournelle

by Marc Fitoussi (2014) - Comedy - with Jean-Pierre Darroussin

Brigitte and Xavier are cattle breeders in Normandy. She is dreamy, with her head in the stars. He, feet fiirnly anchored in the earth, lives for his job. With the departure of the children, the routine of their relationship weighs heavily more and more on Brigitte. One day, on a stroke of madness, she ups sticks and takes off and heads to Paris!  Xavier realises that he may be losing her. Will they manage to meet each other half way? How to reinvent oneself after all these years?


La Cérémonie

by Claude Chabrol (1995) - Drama - César for Best Acrtress - with Sandrine Bonnaire

A winter morning, at the station of St.Malo. Madame Lelièvre comes to collect Sophie, the new maid engaged to upkeep the family home. Sophie gives herself fully to the satisfaction in her role, nothing bothers her. But does her lack of emotion in fact make it all a bit strange? Jeanne, the  curious and cheeky village postman discovers an opportunity to enter the Lelièvre house through Sophie..


Violette Nozière

by Claude Chabrol (1978) - Drama/Police drama - Nomination for Best Actress César - with Fabrice Luchini, Stéphane Audran and Jean Carmet

In the 1930s, Violette Nozière is a teenager who prostitutes herself in secret. She lives with her parents, who don't take any notice of her behaviour. In rebellion against their parsimonious lifestyle and mentality, she falls in love with a young basket-maker.


La Pianiste

by Michael Haneke (2001) - Drama/Thriller - Best Actress Award at Cannnes - with Benoît Magimel and Annie Girardot

A pianist is pulled into a destructive relationship by and with one of her students.


Coup de Torchon

by Bertrand Tavernier (1981) - Drama/Police drama - Oscar nominated for Best Foreign language film, César nominated for Best Actress - with Philippe Noiret, Jean-Pierre Marielle and Eddy Mitchell

Lucien Cordier, the only policeman in a small African town, is a weak person. His wife deceives him, the village pimps openly provoke him, the sole representative of order is the laughingstock of the village. Abruptly fired by his superior, Lucien enters a stage of murderous madness.


Les Valseuses

by Bertrand Blier (1974) - Drama/Bromance - with Gérard Depardieu, Miou-Miou and Patrick Dewaere

Jean-Claude and Pierrot, two petty criminals / jokers are both feral and idle and spend their time mocking or pushing around their friends and colleagues. They take pleasure in committing all sorts of petty crimes, ranging from pickpocketing in supermarket car parks to stealing cars. That particular evening, they target a hairdresser..


Madame Bovary

by Claude Chabrol (1991) - Drama/Romance - Golden Globe Nomination for Best Foreign Language Film  - with Jean-François Balmer and Christophe Malavoy

Madame Bovary is a French film by Claude Chabrol that was released in 1991, adapted from the novel of the same name by Gustave Flaubert.



by Paul Verhoeven (2016) - Drama/Police thriller - Golden Globe for Best Actress, Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film and an Oscar for Best Actress, and nomination for the Palme d'or at Cannes - with Laurent Lafitte et Anne Consigny

When Michèle, CEO of a video game company, is assaulted at home by a mysterious unknown intruder, she refuses to let the event disrupt her life and routine. She organises her busy life and the chaos that surrounds it with an icy calm leading to a series of crises. Unshakeable, and undaunted she decides to face her rape with the same coolness, before understanding that his attacker is not yet finished with her.



by Maurice Pialat (1980) - Drama/Comedy -  César Nomination for Best Acrtress, César nomination for best film - with Gérard Depardieu and Guy Marchand

One evening, Nelly meets Loulou, a young man who has spent a few months in prison following burglary. Thrown out by her husband, she leaves to live with Nelly. Soon she is expecting a child, but Loulou isn't willing to change his crime-filled party life and spends his time out with friends and starts not coming home. Hurt and scared by his attitude, Nelly decides not to keep the child.


L'ivresse du Pouvoir

by Claude Chabrol (2006) - Drama/Thriller - with François Berléand and Patrick Bruel

In charge of unraveling a complex affair, an examining magistrate sees her power increase and her private life weaken.





1978 : Cannes Film Festival: Best Actress Award for Violette Nozière, BAFTA Awards: Surprise Hit in La Dentellière

1988 : Venice Film Festival: Volpi Cup for Best Female Performance in Une affaire de femmes

1996 : Lights of the Foreign Press awards: Best Actress in La cérémonie, César for Best Actress La cérémonie

2001: Lights of the Foreign Press awards: Best Actress in Merci pour le chocolat, Cannes : Best Actress Award for La pianiste

2005 : Venice Film Festival : Special Interpretation Lion in Gabrielle

2006 : Lights of the Foreign Press awards : Best Actress in Gabrielle

2009 : European film awards : International Screen Award for European Contribution to World Cinema

2011 : Locarno Film Festival : Excellence award Moët and Chandon, Brutus film awards: Brutus for Best Actress in White Material

2017 : Trophées of French Film : Trophée for Role of the year 

Lights of the foreign press awards : Best Actress in Elle

Independent spirit awards : Best Actress in Elle

Golden Globes : Best Actress in drama in Elle

Cristal Globes awards : Cristal Globe for Best Actress in Elle

Locarno Film Festival: Best Actress Award in Madame Hyde

César : Best Actress in Elle