Pretty When You Cry: Isabelle Adjani's Tragic Heroines

  • MUBI
Camille ClaudelIt seems impossible to talk about Isabelle Adjani without mentioning her eyes. Round, blue, and prone to tears, Adjani’s eyes are filled with a heartbreaking expressiveness reminiscent of the actresses of the silent film era. A series collecting some of Adjani’s most memorable performances, now playing at New York’s French Institute Alliance Française, is titled (obviously) “Magnetic Gaze.” The 10-film series offers a sampling of her work, from her breakthrough as the title character in François Truffaut’s The Story of Adèle H. (1975), a haunting portrait of l’amour fou, to her most recent role in—of all things—an action comedy, Romain Gavras’s The World is Yours (2018). Adjani is extra. She works a close-up with an intensity few actresses can surpass. When she tears up, so do we. While “Magnetic Gaze” is missing some canonical Adjani films the collection here shows the actress at her most emotionally volatile.
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