Yolande Moreau, actress, comedian and director
A three-time César winner, Belgian actress and director Yolande Moreau was born in Brussels on 27 February 1953 to a Walloon wood merchant father and a Flemish housewife mother. She began her career with children's shows after training at the Jacques Lecoq theatre school. Agnès Varda noticed her on stage, in the show she wrote and performed, Sale affaire, du sexe et du crime (Nasty Business - Sex and Crime), and played the role of a woman who has just killed her lover. Varda gave her her first roles, first in a short film, then in her feature film Sans toi ni loi (Vagabond), a drama from 1985.
She became a regular in the troupe of Jérôme DEschamps et Macha Makeïeff and established herself as a zany, poetic, unsophisticated character. From then on, she most often landed comedy roles in films such as Le Bonheur est dans le pré (Happiness Is in the Field) and Les Trois Frères (The Three Brothers), also playing the concierge in Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain (Amélie), in 2001.
Four years later, she moved to the other end of the camera and co-directed Quand la mer monte (When the Sea Rises), a game of mirrors between life and theatre, with Gilles Porte. It tells the story of Irène (Yolande Moreau), who performs in a one-woman show and meets Dries, a parade-float carrier in the North. This is the beginning of a love story that has a strange resonance with the show that Irène performs on stage. The film met with unexpected public success and won two Césars in 2005, for Best First Work and Best Actress.
Yolande continued her acting career after this first experience as a director. She could be found in films by the great names in cinéma d'auteur, from Catherine Breillat to Costa-Gavras and Albert Dupontel. In 2008, she played the self-taught painter Séraphine in Martin Provost's film of the same name, bringing a touching humanity to the character. The film is about Séraphine Louis, known as Séraphine de Senlis, a self-taught painter who ended her life in a psychiatric hospital. This performance earned her a second César for Best Actress. After this prominent role, she played crazy, spiky characters in films by Benoît Delépine and Gustave Kervern: Louise-Michel (Louise Hires a Contract Killer), then Mammuth with Gérard Depardieu; she was disturbing in the horror film La Meute (The Pack), and in Où va la nuit (The Long Falling), in which she played a battered woman who one day murders her husband. In 2013, Yolande returned to directing with Henri, which tells the story of an encounter between a restaurant owner and a mentally handicapped woman.
In 2019, in La bonne épouse (How to Be a Good Wife), she played the role of Gilberte, the slightly dreamy sister-in-law, who is a cooking teacher and fan of Adamo, of a housekeeping school director (Juliette Binoche). The latter was totally disoriented following the death of her husband, financial ruin and the protests of May '68.
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