Charlotte Rampling: darling of French cinema

23rd January 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 23, 2006 (AFP) - Husky-voiced British actress Charlotte Rampling, who in her 60s is fast becoming the darling of French cinema, will be appearing on screens across the country again from Wednesday.

PARIS, Jan 23, 2006 (AFP) - Husky-voiced British actress Charlotte Rampling, who in her 60s is fast becoming the darling of French cinema, will be appearing on screens across the country again from Wednesday.

In 'Vers le Sud' (Towards the South), Rampling, who celebrates her 61th birthday next month, again plays the role of a mature woman alone and confronting her past and her future.

The British actress, who has lived in France since the late 1970s and speaks French fluently, has seen her career undergo a revival since she appeared in François Ozon's 'Under the Sand' in 2002.

Ozon again cast her in a leading role in 'Swimming Pool' last year, and Rampling, who has largely eschewed Hollywood to take roles exploring the darker side of the human psyche, said she liked the challenge.

"These are the roles which inspire something in me, due to my own femininity, and the route I have taken," she said.

In 'Vers le Sud' this time directed by Laurent Cantet, Rampling plays Ellen, an American holidaymaker in Haiti in the 1970s. She is among a group of older foreigners seeking to escape from their humdrum lives during their stay in an idyllic beach-front hotel.

Ellen and Brenda, played by Karen Young, tussle for the affections of a young 18-year-old hustler, Legba, played by Menothy Cesar.

"Legba is a metaphor for Ellen: she invests in this young man all her hopes and desires for a wonderful life, and although it's just a figment of her imagination she ends up by really feeling something for him," Rampling told AFP.

"This woman could have married and had children, but she suffers from a kind of desire which is not fulfilled by either her daily life or those around her.

"And that is the case for many women in our country even though it could be thought that we have everything."

At the beginning of the film, the hotel seems to be an oasis cut off from the rest of the island, terrorised and oppressed by the former dictator, 'Baby Doc' Duvalier.

But gradually real life creeps into their island paradise, threatening Ellen's fragile relationship.

"Just one grain of sand can destabilise a love affair and throw everything up into question," said Rampling, who was married to French musician Jean-Michel Jarre for some 20 years.

"You think you have created a home, a universe, that you've created a love and are in control of all that. But one grain of sand can throw everything into chaos and the little paradise you've created turns into hell."

But she refuses to be pessimistic. "If a woman can create a concrete world within herself, where she becomes attached to things, to others and the world in which she lives, then anything can happen.

"There are lots of men of the same age in the same situation, so you never know who you could meet once you are ready."

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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