Émilie Dequenne flows into her characters
Belgian actress Émilie Dequenne was born on 29 August 1981 in Belœil, in the province of Hainaut. The winner of several awards, including two at the Cannes Film Festival and two Magrittes, she first appeared in 1999 when she played the lead and eponymous role in the drama Rosetta, a film by brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne.
At the age of 18, responding to a newspaper ad, she went to the casting of Rosetta as determined as the character, and won the title role, from among 2,000 competitors. Her role as a stubborn young woman who would do anything to get and keep a job earned her a Best Actress Award at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival.
In her second feature film in 2001, Émilie Dequenne completely changed style by playing the role of the heiress Marianne de Morangias in the adventure film Le pacte des loups (Brotherhood of the Wolf), directed by Christophe Gans. For Claude Berri, she played a housekeeper who brightens up the everyday life of the grumpy Bacri (2002). Far from the harsh world of the Dardenne brothers, the creative actress then won fame in comedy (Mariées mais pas trop- The Very Merry Widows) and happily played the seductress (for example, in L'Équipier (The Light), a melodrama by Philippe Lioret in 2004).
In 2012, in Joachim Lafosse's À perdre la raison (Our Children), Émilie played a role similar to Rosetta as Murielle, a mother who slits the throats of her five children with a knife. The film was inspired by a story that deeply shook the whole of Belgium, that of Geneviève Lhermitte, a five-time child-killer from Nivelles. This feature film won a breath-taking number of awards: Best Film, Director, Editing, Best Actress (Magritte 2013), Best Actress (Cannes 2012) and a César nomination in 2013.
Four years later, she played the main character in Lucas Belvaux's Chez nous (This Is Our Land), a controversial film that analyses voters' strange and disturbing fascination with extreme right-wing parties.
What the forty or so films in her career reveal above all is her ability, common to chameleons and transformers, to flow into her characters.
Today Émilie Dequenne is also the godmother of the "Belgian collection", the first edition of a series of short films highlighting young Belgian actors that will be presented at the International French Language Film Festival (FIFF) in Namur.
Finally, last year, in a work in which Emmanuel Mouret sympathetically crushes the weaknesses, hesitations and lies of our romantic indecisions, Émilie, modest and deeply moving, plays Louise, who rebuilds her dignity in the role of the deceived wife. In March 2021, her masterful performance in 'Les choses qu'on dit, les choses qu'on fait' (Love Affair(s)) earned her the César for Best Supporting Actor.
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