Festival de Cannes 70: Isabelle Adjani, 1981

A sunny shout-out to 70 winners at the Cannes Film Festival to celebrate the 70th event which is just around the corner – in no particular order.

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Awarded the Best Actress prize for both roles in competition at Cannes 1981, while Isabelle Adjani‘s turn in Quartet is all fine and dandy, it is the ridiculously ravenous performance in Andrzej Żuławski’s psychological mind-fuck Possession that bursts pretty much every acting muscle in the body. As Anna, a woman wanting a divorce, Adjani manages to transcend through spectacular melodrama, alarming sexual deviance, some truly disturbing behavior, impulsive self-harm, all compellingly contributing to one of cinema’s most memorable nervous breakdowns. The enduring, unfathomable subway seizure is a bonkers, brilliant piece of acting all on its own. Adjani also plays Helen, the teacher, in an altogether more composed role, only emphasizing the magnitude of the French actress’ range. One of my very favorite acting displays of any year without question.

 

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