The mysterious charm of Paris

The bittersweet love story “A Man and a Woman” has elevated Anouk Aimée’s fame to the level of legend. Since then, the film diva has had a special relationship with the cinema.

the essentials in brief

  • Mona Lisa face and cat eyes: Federico Fellini has described her as a woman who drives a man crazy.

And the German-speaking actor and director OW Fischer said about her: “Mademoiselle Aimée is a miracle – radiantly beautiful and a gifted artist.”

Anouk Aimée, who has filmed and acted with the greats of the cinema world, is one of France’s actresses who have written more than just more than 50 years of film history.

“As long as the camera can take me, I will love the camera,” said Aimée, who turns 90 this Wednesday (April 27), years ago. The relationship between her and cinema has continued ever since. In 2019 she was seen in “The most beautiful years of a life” by Claude Lelouch. With the film, the French director completed a trilogy that began in 1966 and was continued in 1985 with “A Man and a Woman – Twenty Years Later”.

“A Man and a Woman” has not only become one of his most successful films for Lelouch. Aimée received a Golden Globe and British Academy Film Award for her performance as Anne, an actress who falls in love with a widowed racing driver. In “The most beautiful years of a life”, Lelouch brought the mythical film couple, which Aimée has since embodied with the now 91-year-old Jean-Louis Trintignant, back in front of the camera – more than 50 years later.

International career

Aimée stood in front of the camera for the greats of the cinema world and played alongside international stars: Federico Fellini brought her to the set for “La Dolce Vita” and “Eight and a Half”, Jacques Demy for “Lola, the girl from the port”, and Robert Altman shot “Prêt-à-Porter” with her. Her film partners were no less well known: Marcello Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve, Michel Piccoli, Dirk Bogarde and of course Jean-Louis Trintignant. The Parisian couturier Emanuel Ungaro also chose her as his muse in the 80s. He christened his perfume in thought of Aimée: “Diva”.

In her films she often played enigmatic and withdrawn women with her Mona Lisa face and the longing look. German actor August Diehl, alongside whom she starred in Birkenau und Rosenfeld in 2003, said of her: “She’s magical. Like soft music that we cannot escape.”

A new name

There are names that unintentionally have a special meaning throughout life. One of them is undoubtedly the one worn by the actress. Baptized Nicole Dreyfus, the French poet Jacques Prevert came up with the surname Aimée for her in 1947 during rehearsals for Marcel Carné’s “La Fleur de l’âge” (roughly: In the prime of her life). She got her first name Anouk through “The House Under the Sea”, in which she plays the heroine of the same name.

Born on April 27, 1932 in Paris to an acting couple, the actress is one of France’s favorite actresses. At the age of 14 she was already in front of the camera. She made her film debut in 1947 with Henri Calef’s The House Under the Sea. After that everything happened very quickly: two years later she was seen in “The Lovers of Verona”. In the same year, she took on the leading role in the English production “The Golden Salamander” – and was celebrated as a star in Great Britain. In the mid-1950s, she also made a name for herself in Germany.

“Charme from Paris” they called the newspapers at the time. In 2019, the media at the Cannes Film Festival celebrated Aimée’s “mysterious charm” after the presentation of “The most beautiful years of a life”.

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