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Mathieu Amalric, Vincent Cassel, Guillaume Canet, Mathieu Kassovitz : Lequel préférez-vous?
Mathieu Amalric is currently performing the baddie in the new James Bond, whilsts Vincent Cassel's performance as Mesrine has got the acting world talking, and the London Film Festival has heralded a "French Revolution" in French cinema. It seems fair to ask: What, exactly, is going on?
French actors and directors are more and more sought after abroad. Why? Only one answer comes to mind: it's simply because the new generation is so talented. Of course, the fact that they are also remarkably good looking hardly hinders their success...
France In London looked at four of the best known and already hugely sought after: Mathieu Amalric, Vincent Cassel, Guillaume Canet, Mathieu Kassovitz but the question is which one do you prefer?
Mathieu Amalric seems to be one of the most talented French actors who has managed to seduce foreign film directors as much as the local ones. Currently starring in "A Christmas Tale", "Quantum of Solace" and soon to be released "Public Ennemi n1".
Amalric has been described by critics as "the Antoine Doinel of the 90s" (in reference to the fictional character created by Truffaut). In fact he has been chosing his roles according to a number of critiria: tragically romantic, quirky and intellectual. Mathieu Amalric is the darling of French art-house cinema and yet he became an actor by accident and says that he dreams of stopping and of becoming a film director.
Mathieu Amalric was spotted in 1996 in "Le Journal du Séducteur" directed by Danielle Dubroux, however he became very famous with "Comment je me suis disputé...(ma vie sexuelle)" directed by Arnaud Desplechin in 1997. For this performance, he was awarded a Cesar as "Meilleur Espoir Masculin" (best promising actor).
Thanks to this he went on to become the leading figure of art-house cinema in the 90's; usually playing the roles of unpredictable, exuberant or depressive intellectuals in films such as "Alice et Martin" by Téchiné in 1998, "Fin Août, début septembre" by Assayas in 1998, "Trois ponts sur la Rivière" by Biette in 1999...
His most famous performance remains "King and Queens", directed by Desplechin in 2004, in which Amalric plays Ismaël, a young man who is an inmate by mistake in a mental institution.
He was awarded a Cesar for this role, the second one which opened new possibilities to him as an actor. Approached by the American cinema, Steven Spielberg cast him for "Munich" and Mathieu Amalric appeared in "Marie Antoinette" by Sophia Coppola. He is not missing out on French Blockbusters either, having been cast recently by Claude Miller for "A Secret" and by Pascal Thomas for "Le Grand Appartement": Mathieu Amalric is everywhere.
By now used to the Cesar ceremony, in 2007 he is omnipresent in the Festival de Cannes: playing a deeply moving tetraplegic in "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly", an outstanding performance which is awarded a Cesar, starring in "Actrices" directed by Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, he embodies the main character in the movie directed by Nicolas Koltz, "La Question humaine" too.
It seems restlesness is among his traits- Mathieu Amalric has not stopped moving and continues to juggle both French and American blockbusters as well as art-house films. Playing the baddie in the new James Bond opus, taking part in "Mesrine", he is, once again, Desplechin's leading figure in the outstanding "A Christmas Tale" and seduces another legend of French art-house cinema, Resnais who has approached Amalric for his new film, "Les Herbes Folles."
Mathieu Amalric is without a doubt one of the most talented actors of his generation and yet apparently he is a reluctant star, claiming this is not his career of choice. He is more interested in film direction and has already directed three long features, "Mange ta Soupe" in 1997, "Le Stade de Wimbledon" in 2001 and "La Chose publique" in 2003.
With his mysterious charm, Mathieu Amalric is a complete artist who is going to leave his mark on the French cinema.
Starring with Mathieu Amalric in "Mesrine" as leading figure, Vincent Cassel must be one of the most famous French actors in the world. Often playing tough guys, this beautiful blue-eyed 42 year old actor seduces as much in France as in the United States.
Vincent Cassel is the son of Jean-Pierre Cassel, a leading French actor of the New Wave- no doubt the reason for which he has continually strived to be his own man. After a first role in "Les Clefs du Paradis" directed by Philippe Broca in 1991, he joined forces with actor/director Mathieu Kassovitz whom he had first met in theatre school. This is the beginning of a fruitful collaboration which goes on to bring us "Metisse" in 1993 and above all "La Haine" in 1995. This highly acclaimed movie is the one that really sees the launch of his career. In it, he brilliantly portrays a troubled youth from the decrepit outskirts of Paris, a Jewish skinhead Vinz. Thanks to this role, he becomes an idol for the French urban youth.
Vincent Cassel started off playing rogue males, not afraid of playing bad characters or tarnishing his image as a sex-symbol, and becomes a leading figure in this style.
He has played, amongst other things,a charismatic gang leader in "Doberman" in 1997, an ex robber turned cop in "Les Rivières Pourpres" still directed by his friend Mathieu Kassovitz and co-starring the legend of the French cinema, Jean Reno in 2000. In 2001 in "Read my Lips" he embodied an ex-con falling in love and manipulating
However Vincent Cassel doesn't only have a dark side: he is a real chameleon.
He was outstanding in "L'Eleve" in 1996 as a wise tutor and we are obviously not the only ones affected by his talent: Whilst acting alongside him in "L'appartement" in 1996, the beautiful Monica Belluci is unnable to resist him and they get married shortly after. They have since gone on to play in 11 films together,including "Doberman", "Le Pacte des Loups", "Agents Secret" and the controversial "Irreversible" in which Monica's Bellucci is raped during 11 minutes shot without any break.
As a charismatic and brilliant actor, Vincent Cassel seduces oversee and takes part in a lot of American movies. He has acted alongside Mila Jovovich in "Joan d'Arc" en 1999, and has also worked with Nicole Kidman in Birthday Girl" in 2000.
More recently he has fought against Dany Ocean's crew in "Ocean's 12" co starring some of the most famous American actors: Georges Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta Jones...
Always keeping on the look-out for new performances, Vincent Cassel doesn't hesitate to speak Russian for playing in Davide Cronenberg's "Eastern Promises" which deals with the very current issue of prostitution.
Most recently he has acted alongside Mathieu Amalric, playing the title role in "Mesrine". His dedication to his craft can be seen in his decision to gain 20 Kg for the role. Critics have said he was the only one capable of incarnating such a character. And it's probably true.
Heat-throb in France, Guillaume Canet is an eclectic and moving actor who could easily become one of the greatest of the next decade. Recently awarded a Cesar as best film director for his second film "Tell no one", this young man who was destined to a become a jockey is now one of France's most cherished actors.
He first appeared on screen in a short film in 1995 and then in the thriller "Barracuda" with the famous French actor Jean Rochefort in 1997.
He became more famous playing in "En Plein Coeur" directed by Pierre Jolivet and "Je règle mon pas sur le pas de mon père" by Rémi Waterhouse co starring Jean Yanne.
In 2000 he was introduced to teenage girls everywhere playing French man Etienne in "The Beach" directed by Danny Boyle with Leonardo Di Caprio and Virginie Ledoyen.
He was cast to test Sophie Marceau's fidelity in a free and modern version of "La Princesse de Clèves" the famous classic novel written by Mme de La Fayette in 1678, "The Fidelity" in 2000. Then he was approached by Antoine de Caunes for his film "Morsures de l'Aube" and reached consecration by playing Gerard Depardieu's biographer in "Vidocq" in 2001.
In 2002 he turned out to direct his first own movie "Mon Idole" starring himself, Diane Kruger and François Berléand. This amoral story about show business is a really nice shot.
In 2004 he played dangerously with Marion Cotillard in "Love me if you dare" directed by Yann Samuell. His performance is applauded by both critics and spectator: Guillaume Canet turned out to be a reference in French cinema and an idol in France, especially for young ladies.
Looking for new kinds of roles, he was cast as a narcoleptic dreamer in "Narco" by Gilles Lellouche and Tristan Aurouet in 2004 and proved his comic potential.
However Guillaume Canet is not only funny, he has also shone in more serious movies such as "Joyeux Noël". In this European production which deals with the first World War he played the Lieutenant Audebert co-starring Diane Kruger, Benno Furmann, Daniel Bruhl... His international recognition has not stopped growing.
In 2007 he falls in love with the famous Audrey Tautou in "Ensemble c'est tout", a romantic comedy adapted from Anna Gavalda's bestseller. His performance is outstanding and strongly acclaimed.
Guillaume Canet seems to be back with lighter roles but he is not: the truth is he is unpredictable. The same year he proves that he is not afraid of damaging his image by playing a very unpleasant character in "Darling" with Marina Foïs.
It seems that Guillaume Canet cannot put a foot wrong and let's not forget that he has directed two movies, the adaptation of Harlan Coben's bestseller "Tell no One" which had an outstanding cast including François Cluzet, Kristin Scott Thomas and Jean Rocheford. With this film he became the youngest director awarded a Cesar. What a nice shot!
Now a legend of French cinema, Mathieu Kassovitz is as talented an actor as he is a film director. Everybody remembers "La Haine" and of his role as Nino Quincampoix in "Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amelie Poulain". Now Mathieu Kassovitz is directing blockbusters in the United States such as "Gothica" starring Halle Berry or "Babylon AD" starring Vin Diesel. Let's retrace his outstanding career.
Mathieu Kassovitz was spotted in 1993 as actor and film director with his first feature "Métisse", an acidely funny comedy: a very promissing start.
Then he kept on playing: in 1994 he acted opposite Jean Louis Trintignant and Jean Yanne in "Regarde les hommes tomber" and then he directed another movie and made the headlines: his second feature is a masterpiece.
In 1995 Mathieu Kassovitz directed "La Haine" and showed his visionary talent. This drama about living conditions in the gloomy Parisian suburb is acclaimed and largely awarded ( three Cesars including the one for "Best film"). For this film he cast Vicent Cassel who became one of his close friends and regular actor.
In 1997 he directed another movie "Assassins" where he embodied a novice killer opposite Michel Serraut. However this film got very negative reviews both from critics and audience alike: it may be Mathieu Kassovitz' single wrong move.
The same year he was approached by Luc Besson, appeared in "the Fifth Element"and pointed a gun at Bruce Willis...
Shy and moony photo collector falling in love with Audrey Tautou in "Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amelie Poulain", Mathieu Kassovitz prove definitely his talent as actor in 2000. The film is an international success.
The same year he came back as film director with a thriller starring his friend Vincent Cassel and Jean Reno, "Les Rivières pourpres". Thanks to all his performances he established himself gradually as a main figure in the French cinema.
In 2002 he is approached by the American cinema for "Birthday Girl" starring Nicole Kidman.
The same year he is deeply moving as a Jesuits priest in the controversial "Amen" which examines the links between the Vatican and the Nazi Germany. It may be one of his most beautiful performance, that's why he was nominated for Best actor during the 2003 Cesar ceremony.
Then he got approached by the American producer Joel Silver and began a successful career as film director in the United States. He directed Halle Berry and Penelope Cruz in the thrilling "Gothica" in 2003 and then Vin Diesel in a sci-fi project adapted from "Babylon Babies", a novel written by G. Dantec.
As he claimed his career as actor was ended, he is cast in 2005 by his idol Steven Spielberg and played a Mossad Agent in "Munich".
Mathieu Kassovitz is an outstanding actor, a successful and subtle film director who is able to direct the most famous and gifted actors in the world and yet he keeps a cool head and commits himself. He is currently helping a French association for homeless people by producing a film about their fights. All the benefits will be given to the association.
And so... who do you prefer? Whatever France can be proud of all of them!