Plucked from anonymity by director Abdellatif Kechiche to play a hot-headed teen rapping the words of Marivaux in L’esquive, at barely 18 Forestier’s gall and outsize personality instantly singled her out as one to watch. She went on to win the César’s coveted Best Newcomer gong in 2005 and has ridden on a wave of acclaim since. Her turn as a carefree social (sex) activist, prone to trawling the streets in the buff, in the lauded Le Nom des gens earned her a second nod from the French academy with the 2012 Best Actress award.
Unapologetically brazen, versatile and hugely relatable, she has bulldozed the image of the French belle with a strafe of uncomfortable and challenging performances, from a promiscuous socialite in Hell and forlorn bourgeoise in Un fil à la patte to a drifter embroiled in a life of crime with her gangster lover in Suzanne.
This force of nature is not one to play by the rulebook: hailed as a tornado by critics, Forestier’s staunch refusal to grace the cover of women’s magazines has raised eyebrows and confirmed her as the rebel of French cinema. After stamping her mark on the big screen, she’s poised to step behind the camera with her directorial debut, M: the unlikely love story of an illiterate pilot and a woman condemned to near mutism by a debilitating stammer.
Watch this space…
10-Second CV: A screen star’s life in one take
Name: Sara Forestier
Born: October 4, 1986 in Copenhagen, Denmark
Early career: She set her sights on acting after tagging along to a friend’s audition at the age of 13. She totted up small roles in Les Fantômes de Louba and La Guerre à Paris before being cast as Lydia in Kechiche’s L’esquive; a part which earned her the Best Newcomer award at the Césars.
I know the face… You may have spotted her moonlighting as glamorous singer France Gall in Joann Sfar’s critically-acclaimed Gainsbourg back in 2010.
Where will we see her next? Forestier can be seen in Primaire, in which she plays a devoted 30-year-old school teacher at a crossroads – facing challenges both at work, where she’s shepherding her pupils, and at home with her wayward son. She is hotly tipped for yet another award nomination.
C’est pas vrai! She briefly aspired to be a teacher, before leaving school at 16 to pursue acting. But if her dabblings in film hadn’t panned out she would happily have fallen back on a career in education.
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From France Today magazine