In terms of the rising French actors making a big impression on global cinema, there are few stars with as high a promise as Adèle Exarchopoulos. The actor is perhaps best known so far for her role in Abdullatif Kechiche’s 2013 romantic drama Blue Is The Warmest Colour, also starring Lea Seydoux.
Exarchopoulos’ performance drew widespread critical acclaim and became the youngest person in the history of the Cannes Film Festival to be awarded the Palme d’Or. Elsewhere, Exarchopoulos has featured in the likes of Sibyl, Zero Fucks Given and the widely-praised Passages.
With the spotlight firmly on the French actor, it’s interesting to know Exarchopoulos’ favourite films and where she might have drawn inspiration for her outstanding performances throughout her career so far. Fortunately, she once named her top four movies in a feature with Letterboxd.
The first of Exarchopoulos’ favourite movies is Asghar Farhadi’s 201 Iranian drama A Separation, starring Leila Hatami, Peyman Moaadi and Shahab Hosseini. It tells of an Iranian middle-class couple that end their relationship, leading to the disappointment of their daughter over her parents’ egotism.
Exarchopoulos follows up with a mention of one of the best films of the 1990s, Tony Kaye’s directorial debut American History X, starring Edward Norton and Edward Furlong. The two Edwards play a Los Angeles sibling pair who become involved in white power and neo-Nazi movements.
When Norton’s character is set to prison for three years after violently killing a man, he learns the foolishness of his former ways. Upon his release, he is dismayed to find his younger brother following in his footsteps and sets out to right his former wrongs and educate his sibling.
A year later, another of Exarchopoulos’ favourite movies of all time was released, and it’s yet another directorial debut, this time from British actor Tim Roth. The War Zone stars Ray Winstone, Tilda Swinton, Lara Belmont and Freddie Cunliffe and explores the nature of incest and sexual violence from within a British family.
Clearly, Exarchopoulos likes her films on the darker side of cinema as her final choice does not stray from examining the more sinister side of life. It’s A Prophet, the 2009 French prison crime film directed by Jacques Audiard and starring Tahar Rahim, is up next. Rahim, in the titular role as a captive Algerian petty criminal who rises through the prison hierarchy, becomes assimilated into the drug trafficking industry with the Corsican mafia and Maghrebi crime world.
Adèle Exarchopoulos’ four favourite movies:
- A Separation (Asghar Farhadi, 2011)
- American History X (Tony Kate, 1998)
- The War Zone (Tim Roth, 1999)
- A Prophet (Jacques Audiard, 2009)