Anouk Aimée – the star of the golden age of European cinematography

Anouk Aimée in the movie "La Dolce Vita"

Anouk Aimée in the movie "La Dolce Vita"

French actress Anouk Aimée, who was one of the main faces of the "New Wave" of cinema, starring in classics by directors such as Federico Fellini, Jacques Demy and Claude Lelouch, has died at the age of 92. Her name is associated with the hits "La Dolce Vita" and "A Man and a Woman"

Anouk Aimée, the French star of European New Wave classics including La Dolce Vita, A Man and a Woman and Lola, has died aged 92. The news was announced by her daughter Manuela Papatakis on social networks on Tuesday. "It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my mother ... I was by her side when she passed away this morning, at her home in Paris," Papatakis wrote. Having made her screen debut in the late 40s, Aimée rose to international prominence with a string of high-profile blockbusters in the 60s, pairing her with the era's leading directors, including names such as Federico Fellini and Jacques Demy. Perhaps her most influential hit was the 1966 Oscar-winning A Man and a Woman opposite Jean-Louis Trintignant, which won Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Screenplay. original, as well as a Best Actress nomination for the actress herself.

Born Nicole Françoise Florence Dreyfus in 1932 to actor parents, her Jewish father, her Catholic mother, Aimée began acting as Françoise Dreyfus and began in a small role in her first film, The House Under the Sea ”, in 1946 at the age of 14. She kept her character's name, Anouk, as a stage name, with "Aimée" given by the poet Jacques Prévert, who co-wrote her first leading role in The Lovers of Verona, a modernized version of Romeo and Juliet. of Shakespeare.

During the 50s, Aimée took on a string of roles in mainly European films with prominent directors, including the adventure film Golden Salamander with Trevor Howard, the Zola Pot-Bouille adaptation for Julien Duvivier and the Modigliani biopic Montparnasse 19 with Jacques Becker. However, she burst into international stardom after being cast in Fellini's 1960 film La Dolce Vita as the wealthy and outspoken Maddalena who takes journalist Marcello Mastroianni to a nightclub. Aimée seemed to embody a bohemian sexuality at the beginning of the new decade.

This impression was reinforced by her next major role, in Jacques Demi's Lola, in 1961. Aimée played the lead role, a showgirl who is the object of several men's romantic interests. Aimée then reunited with Fellini and Mastroianni for 8's 1963½, in which she played Luisa, Mastroianni's estranged wife. Three years later, she was cast in Claude Lelouch's A Man and a Woman on Trintignant's recommendation, and the intensely romantic study of a relationship between two people whose previous spouses had both died struck a chord. great, becoming an international discovery. The three would go on to reunite in 1986 with "A Man and a Woman: 20 Years Later" and "The Best Years of a Life" in 2019. 

As a result of the success of "A Man and a Woman", Aimée was able to join the international elite of the film industry, appearing in films such as "Justine" (for George Cukor), "The Appointment" ( directed by Sidney Lumet) and "Tragedy of a Ridiculous" by Bernardo Bertolucci. Other highlights of her later career included the Robert Altman comedy Prêt-à-Porter, Happily Ever After starring Charlotte Gainsbourg and Yvan Attal. 

Aimée was married four times, including to actor Albert Finney between 1970 and 1978, her fourth and final husband. Her daughter Manuela was a child from her second marriage, with the Greek director Nikos Papatakis.