Élodie Bouchez

A natural and photogenic performer with the gamine air of a young Leslie Caron, French-born Elodie Bouchez decided early on a career in acting. A model at thirteen, she auditioned for the late Serge Gainsbourg at 16 and two weeks later was working on his "Stan the Flasher" (1990). Her feature debut led to a good role in Christine Lipinska's "Le Cahier vole" (1992), after which her career in essence stalled until Andre Techine's "Les Roseaux sauvages/Wild Reeds" (1994) vaulted her to the front ranks of French actresses. Bringing an extra measure of life to her character of Maite, the platonic best friend of the sensitive gay Francois (Techine's alter ego played by Gael Morel), she richly deserved the Cesar she took home as Most Promising Female. She also acted with Morel that year in "Those Were the Days," appeared in his directorial debut, "A Toute Vitesse" (1996) and performed with him again in Laurent Bouhnik's "Zonzon" (1998).