Irene Jacob

Date of Birth
15 July 1966, Suresnes, Hauts-de-Seine, France
Birth Name
Irene Marie Jacob
5' 4" (1.63 m)
Is a French-born Swiss actress considered one of the preeminent French actresses of her generation.Jacob gained international recognition and acclaim through her work with Polish film director Krzysztof Kieślowski, who cast her in the lead role of The Double Life of Véronique and Three Colors: Red. She came to represent an image of European sophistication, through her "classic beauty and thoughtful, almost melancholic style of acting.
Irène Jacob was born in Suresnes, Hauts-de-Seine, a western suburb of Paris.The youngest child with three older brothers, she was raised in a highly educated and intellectual family and environment: her father Maurice Jacob was a physicist; her mother, a psychologist; one brother Francis Jacob, a musician; and two brothers, scientists.In 1969, at the age of three, Irène moved with her family to Geneva, Switzerland, where she became interested in the arts.
My family was very shy with feelings and never spoke about them, but we evolved a little bit. I think part of the reason I was attracted to theater was because I wanted to be close to stories because they could help me relate to my family.
Jacob developed an interest in performing after seeing the films of Charlie Chaplin. "They took my heart", she has recalled. "They made me laugh and cry, and that was exactly what I was waiting for in a film: to awaken me to my feelings.
She made her stage debut in 1977 at the age of 11. She attended the Geneva Conservatory of Music and earned a degree in languages (she speaks fluent French, English, German, and Italian).She also studied at the Dramatic Studio in London, England. In 1984, she moved to Paris, where she studied acting at the prestigious Rue Blanche (the French national drama academy).
Film career
In 1987, Jacob returned to Paris, where the 21-year-old drama student obtained her first movie role in the Louis Malle film Au revoir, les enfants, playing the part of a piano teacher. She followed her film debut with six additional French movies—mostly minor roles—in four years.
In 1991, Polish film director Krzysztof Kieślowski cast her in the lead role of his film The Double Life of Véronique, the allegorical story of two young women, one in Poland and the other in France, both of whom are played by Jacob. For her performance, Jacob won the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival.
From 1992 to 1993, despite numerous offers from Hollywood that came in the wake of her success—including the lead role in Indecent Proposal—Jacob focused on smaller French films.
In 1994, Jacob again earned international acclaim as the protagonist in Kieślowski's Three Colors: Red, which received three Academy Award nominations for Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Original Screenplay. The film was also named Best Film or Best Foreign Film by the National Board of Review, New York Film Critics Circle Awards, National Society of Film Critics Awards, and Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards. It received César Award nominations for Best Film, Best Actor (Jean-Louis Trintignant), Best Actress (Irène Jacob), Best Director (Krzysztof Kieślowski), Best Writing (Krzysztof Kieślowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz). The New York Times included the film in its list of "The Best 1000 Movies Ever Made.
An introvert by nature, Jacob has the remarkable ability to express the emotional turmoil of her characters with very few words. This was very evident in her performance in Three Colors: Red, the third part of Kieślowski's trilogy. Jacob described her unique experience working with the Polish film director:
“     The camera was really like a microscope. Krzysztof was always very close and very precise in his directions. It was not something he talked about beforehand; he would only work on the set. He liked to rehearse just before a take, if at all.
Her performance in Three Colors: Red gained huge international recognition, bringing many offers from major American motion-picture studios. But again, Jacob retreated from the growing interest and fame and took nine months off, spending most of her time reading Tolstoy, Balzac, Singer, and several autobiographies.
From 1995 to 1999, Jacob made a series of American and European films that met with varying degrees of commercial and critical success. In 1995, she appeared in six films, including Victory, with Willem Dafoe and Sam Neill; Michelangelo Antonioni's Beyond the Clouds; and Oliver Parker's adaptation of William Shakespeare's Othello, in which Jacob spoke all of her lines in English for the first time on film.[4] In the following years, she made several moderately successful American films, including Incognito (1997); U.S. Marshals (1998), starring opposite Wesley Snipes and Tommy Lee Jones; The Big Brass Ring (1999), with William Hurt; and the entertaining History Is Made at Night (1999), with Bill Pullman and Bruno Kirby.
Beginning in 2000, Jacob's film career slowed down, and after a series of independent—mostly European—films, she revived her theatre career. In 2000, she played the title character in Madame Melville opposite Macaulay Culkin in London's West End, which was crucial to her further development as an actress. She continues to make films.
Year     Title     Role     Notes
1987     Au revoir, les enfants     Mlle Davenne     English: Goodbye, Children
1988     La Bande des quatre     Marine     English: The Gang of Four
1989     Erreur de jeunesse     Anne   
1989     Les Mannequins d'osier     Marie   
1989     Nick chasseur de têtes         Television program
1990     La Veillée     Johanna     English: The Van Gogh Wake
1991     Le Secret de Sarah Tombelaine     Sarah     English: The Secret of Sarah Tombelaine
1991     The Double Life of Véronique     Weronika/Véronique     French: La Double vie de Véronique
Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress
César Award Nomination for Best Actress
Sant Jordi Best Foreign Actress Award
1992     Le Moulin de Daudet     Mme Daudet     English: Daudet's Windmill
1992     Enak     Lucille Spaakv   
1993     Claude     Beatrice     English: Trusting Beatrice
1993     The Secret Garden     Mrs. Lennox/Lilias Craven   
1993     Predskazaniye     Lyuda     English: The Prediction
Nika Award Best Actress Nomination
1994     Three Colors: Red     Valentine Dussaut     French: Trois couleurs: Rouge
César Award Nomination for Best Actress
BAFTA Award Nomination for Best Actress
1995     Victory     Alma   
1995     Fugueuses     Prune     English: Runaways
1995     Beyond the Clouds     The girl     French: Al di là delle nuvole
1995     All Men Are Mortal     Regina   
1995     Faire un film pour moi c'est vivre       
1995     Othello     Desdemona   
1997     Incognito     Prof. Marieke van den Broeck   
1998     Jack's potes       
1998     U.S. Marshals     Marie Bineaux   
1998     American Cuisine     Gabrielle Boyer     French: Cuisine américaine
1999     Cuisine chinoise     Patricia   
1999     The Big Brass Ring     Cela Brandini   
1999     My Life So Far     Aunt Heloise   
1999     History Is Made at Night     Natasha Scriabina/Anna Belinka     Also known as Spy Games
2000     L'Affaire Marcorelle     Agneska     English: The Marcorelle Affair
2001     Letter from an Unknown Woman     Rose     French: Lettre d'une inconnue
Television film
2001     Londinium     Fiona Delgrazia     English: Fourplay
2002     Mille millièmes     Julie     The Landlords
2003     La Légende de Parva     Voice of La mère de Parva   
2003     Nés de la mère du monde     Clara Sidowski     Television film
2004     The Pornographer: A Love Story       
2004     Automne     Michelle     English: Autumn
2004     Nouvelle-France     Angélique de Roquebrune     English: Battle of the Brave
2006     La Educación de las hadas     Ingrid     English: The Education of Fairies
2007     The Inner Life of Martin Frost     Claire Martin   
2007     Nessuna qualità agli eroi     Anne     English: Fallen Heroes
2008     The Dust of Time     Eleni     Directed by Theo Angelopoulos
2009     The French Kissers     Aurore's mother     French: La mère d'Aurore
2010     Rio Sex Comedy     Irène